Sales of existing homes in the U.S. jumped in August to the highest level since the pre-crisis month of February 2007. The 1.7% gain topped expectations but reflected transactions initiated a month or two earlier, when mortgage interest rates were near record lows. With rates rising since then, "we'll continue to see increases in home sales and prices, though not as fast as in August," said Gus Faucher, a senior economist in Pittsburgh at PNC Financial Services Group.

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