U.S. existing home sales jump 7.7 pct in August

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:02pm BST

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WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Existing home sales rose more than expected in August to the fastest annual pace since March as falling prices and low interest rates drew more buyers into the market, the National Association of Realtors said.

Sales climbed 7.7 percent month over month to an annual rate of 5.03 million units, the NAR said on Wednesday. The median price was 5.1 percent lower than a year earlier.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise 1.4 percent to a 4.71-million-unit pace. Compared to August 2010, sales were 18.6 percent higher.

The NAR's estimate for the pace of existing home sales during July was unchanged. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by James Dalgleish) (jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +1 202 310 5487; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.reuters.com@reuters.net))