The US is experiencing a slight lift in the volume of house sales against a year ago however the picture is not all that clear as local variations impact on the national figures.
The number of existing homes sold rose 2.3 percent in July from the previous month, according to figures released Wednesday. Volume was up more than 10 percent from a year ago.
For several months, economic data and accounts from real estate agents across the country have calmed fears that the overall market could take another big step down, giving prospective home buyers some assurance that prices were stabilising.
Yet the nascent recovery is still a convalescent one, with the pace of activity uneven and far below the levels reached before the bubble burst. Home prices remain under pressure in many markets.
In fact, Wednesday's report from the National Association of Realtors showed that average sales prices actually dipped slightly from June to July. This seeming contradiction - increasing demand but anemic growth in home values - could represent a new normal in the housing market, experts said.
Real estate agents across the country cited the weak job market, stagnant wages and tight lending standards as continuing restraints on prices, despite pent-up demand and mortgage rates near record lows.
A really significant growth in house sales is not expected until there is greater certainty about job prospects and the security of existing jobs.