The latest report of the National Association of Realtors showed a 9.6 percent increase in sales of previously owned single-family homes in the 12 months through May and a 7.9 percent rise in prices. New-home sales rose 19.8 percent over the same period, according to Census Bureau data, and prices rose 5.6 percent.
Commercial property has been on an upswing, too.
The improvement is hardly conclusive evidence that the multiyear decline in real estate prices is over, but it was enough to produce a 2.8 percent gain in the Vanguard REIT Index exchange-traded fund, by far the largest portfolio of its kind, in the three months through June, while the average real estate mutual fund in Morningstar’s database was up 3.5 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 3.3 percent during the period.
           
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