Existing Home Sales Rise 4.9% in May

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sales of existing U.S. homes rose nearly 5 percent last month but the pace of buying was still below last year's total, according to a new report out Monday.

The National Association of Realtors says sales jumped 4.9 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million.

The month-over-month gain was "the biggest improvement since August of 2011," says Walter Molony with the National Association of Realtors.

But the gain was still 5 percent shy of the 5.15 million sales in May of 2013.

"Home sales are clearly rebounding after a lackluster first quarter," Molony says. "Buyers are benefiting from slower price growth, and that's from rising inventory, and in addition, the improving job market and a temporary decline in mortgage interest rates are helping sales."

"We're still seeing home prices rising a bit faster than historic norms, but the growth in home prices is slowing, and that's good; we need that to preserve affordability," he adds.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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