Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 16:14 UK

Home sales in the US rise again

For sale sign in Virginia
Analysts say the housing market is starting to stabilise

Sales of previously-owned US homes rose for the third month in a row in June, and at a quicker rate than expected, an estate agent body has said.

The National Association of Realtors said sales rose 3.6% to an annual rate of 4.89 million last month, up from 4.77 million in May.

But house prices were still down 15.4% on a year ago. The average sale price now stands at $181,000 (£110,000).

Some analysts see the data as more evidence of a US housing recovery.

'Deep discounts'

"The housing market is healing," said Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist.

"The increase in existing home sales occurred in all major regions of the country," he added.

One of the main reasons for the buoyant figures was tax credit incentives, he explained.

"The bottoming process in the housing market is under way," said Michelle Meyer at Barclays Capital.

"The stabilisation has been driven in part by an increase in deeply discounted foreclosed properties," she added.

June is traditionally one of the strongest months for house sales, as families prepare to move before the new school year starts.

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