August sales were at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.13 million, up from 3.84 million in July. Sales in August remained 19% below the year-earlier pace.
"The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit," explained Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty."
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,600 in August, up 0.8% from a year earlier.
Total housing inventory at the end of August dropped 0.6% to 3.98 million existing homes, an 11.6-month supply at the current rate of sales. The inventory represented a 12.5-month supply at the end of July.