Sales of previously owned homes, the largest category of home sales, climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million units last month from an upwardly revised 5.10 million in June, the National Association of Realtors said. The June drop, after revisions, was 11.1 percent.
"We are most definitely on course for an all-time record year," said NAR Chief Economist David Lereah.
July sales fell short of the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, who had forecast a 5.37-million annual pace but remained at what economists consider high levels. The pace of existing home sales accelerated in all regions of the country except for the West, where they slid 2.9 percent.
Inventories dropped 9.3 percent from July a year ago to 2.05 million homes available for sale, or a 4.6 months supply at the current sales pace. The median home sale price rose 7.3 percent from a year ago to $162,800, but slowed from June's median price of $163,900.