WASHINGTON — Existing home sales rose 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted 5.48 million-unit rate in August from a unrevised 5.39 million pace the previous month, the National Association of Realtors announced Thursday.

The August sales rate was stronger than the median estimate of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted a 5.250 million rate. It was the  highest since February 2007, NAR Chief Economic Lawrence Yun said.

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