Demand for homes grew faster than the inventory of homes for sale in July, helping push the national median price of existing homes up for the fifth month in a row despite a modest increase in sales that fell short of some analysts’ expectations.

The National Association of Realtors said today that the national median price of existing homes was up 9.4 percent from a year ago in July, to $187,300 — the strongest annual gain since January 2006. The last time the national median home price posted five consecutive months of annual gains was January to May of 2006.

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