WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose in August. But sales were driven by an increase in foreclosures, evidence the housing market remains weak.
The National Association of Realtors says home sales rose 7.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million homes. That’s below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market.
Last month’s pace was slightly ahead of the 4.91 million sold in 2010, the weakest sales year in 13 years.
Home at risk of foreclosure made up 31 percent of sales, up from 29 percent in July.
First-time homebuyers were unchanged at 32 percent of all sales. The normally make up 50 percent of sales in healthy markets.
In Augusta, home sales rose 7.2 percent, according to data from the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors. There were 467 homes sold in August, up from 433 in July.