WASHINGTON (AP) — A jump in sales of previously occupied homes and further gains in home construction suggest the U.S. housing recovery is gaining momentum.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose 7.8 percent in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. That’s the highest level since May 2010, when sales were aided by a federal home-buying tax credit.

At the same time, builders broke ground on 2.3 percent more homes and apartments in August than July. The Commerce Department said the annual rate of construction rose to a seasonally adjusted 750,000. The increase was the best rate of single-family home construction since April 2010.

The pair of reports comes amid other signs of steady progress in the housing market after years of stagnation. New-home sales are up, builder confidence is at its highest level in more than six years and increases in home prices appear to be sustainable.

“The U.S. housing recovery is for real,” said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a note to clients. “Great affordability, pent-up demand and strong investor interest in rental units are driving the market.”

The broader economy is also likely to benefit. When home prices rise, Americans typically feel wealthier and spend more. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economic growth.



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