Existing Home Sales in July increased to a 5.24 million annual pace, up 7.2% from the June pace of 4.89 million, better than the expected increase to a 5 million rate.  30% of sales came from first-time buyers taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, while distressed homes accounted for 31% of transactions  This is the fourth consecutive month this figure has increased, a streak which has not recurred since June 2004.  Over the past year, existing sales are up by 5%, showing the first 12 month increase since November 2005.  The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,400 in July, following a $181,800 median sale price in June, and is 15.1% below the July 2008 median.  Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased by 13.4% to an annual pace of 930,000, with a median price of $236,700.  Sales in Midwest are up by 10.9% to 1.22 million with a median price of $157,200.  In the South, existing-home sales grew by 7.1% to an annual pace of 1.95 million, with a median price of $164,500. Existing-home sales in the West edged down by 1.7% over the month to an annual rate of 1.13 million, with a median sales price of $202,300.  Housing inventory rose by 7.3% over the month to 4.09 million available homes, representing a 9.4 month supply at the current sales pace. 

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