In May, sales of previously owned homes rose 0.2 percent from the month before, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors. The increase, though slight, added to growing evidence that home buyers remain active and interested this year. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, says steady rates have helped. “Mortgage rates heavily influence the direction of home sales,” Yun said. “Relatively steady rates have led to several consecutive months of consistent home sales.” But while steady rates have calmed buyers and led to increasing demand, the lack of available homes for sale continues to hold back sales. At the end of May, there was a 3-month supply of available existing homes for sale at the current sales pace. For comparison, a 6-month supply is considered healthy for the housing market. But though inventory remains low, the report found that it's improving, rising nearly 4 percent from April to May.
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