Existing home sales climb to record

Sales of existing homes rose 2.1 percent to a record in June as rising mortgage rates prompted a rush by Americans to close deals before rates went even higher.

The National Association of Realtors reported that the increase in sales pushed the annual rate of existing home sales to an all-time high of 6.95 million units, beating the old record set in May of 6.81 million units.

The pace of home sales this year has surprised analysts, who had been predicting that sales would begin to slow, reflecting the fact that interest rates have started to increase.

While mortgage rates are up by about a percentage point from a year ago, analysts said that they remain at historically low levels. In fact, rates have backtracked a bit in recent weeks, with the 30-year mortgage falling to 5.98 percent last week, the first time it has been below 6 percent in three months.

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