Pending home sales rose 3.6 percent from May to June, marking five consecutive months of gains for the first time since July, 2003, the National Association of Realtors said.

The gains were spurred by low interest rates and affordable home prices, and were strongest in the South (7.1 percent) and West (2.9 percent), NAR said. Month-over month gains in NAR’s pending home sales index were more modest in the Midwest (0.8 percent) and Northeast (0.4 percent).

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