The National Association of Realtors released existing homes sales figures in the U.S. on Thursday. Sales of existing homes rose 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million in July from 5.48 million in June. It was the highest level since February 2007.
June's figure was revised down from 5.49 million units.
Analysts had expected an increase to 5.44 million units.
"The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now. As a result, current homeowners are using their increasing housing equity towards the downpayment on their next purchase," the NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.
Sales to first-time buyers declined to 28% in July, their lowest share since January.
Yun noted that "declining affordability could begin to slowly dampen demand".