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Pace of U.S. home resales rises to eight-month high

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales rose in June to their fastest pace in eight months, a signal that the housing market was pulling out of a slump.

The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales increased 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units.

That was above analysts' expectations and marked the third straight month the pace of home resales accelerated.

U.S. homebuilder stocks rose following the release of the data, with the Dow Jones index for home construction up 1.7 percent.

The U.S. housing recovery stalled in the second half of 2013 as interest rates increased and a dwindling supply of properties available for sale pushed prices sharply higher.

But mortgage rates have eased a bit in recent months and the nation's job market has improved, helping the market for homes.

May's rate of sales was revised upward to a 4.91 million unit pace from the previously reported 4.89 million unit rate.

In June, the average existing home sold after being on the market for only 44 days. It was the sixth straight month in which that rate had declined.

"Things are flying pretty fast," said Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist.

More homes also are being put on the market, keeping prices from rising as quickly and providing potential buyers with more choices.

The number of homes on the market for resale rose to 2.3 million in June, the highest level since August 2012 and 6.5 percent more than in June of last year.

The median price was $223,300. That was 4.3 percent higher than in June 2013 and the slowest pace of appreciation in more than two years.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)

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