WASHINGTON, DC—Existing home sales, including for-sale apartments, reached their highest level in May since the fall of 2009, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The month’s tally rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, coming in at the high end of a consensus of estimates from economists polled by Bloomberg Business.

An increase in the percentage of first-time buyers—who comprised 32% of the total buyer pool for the month, up from 30% in April and 27% a year ago—helped spur the month’s gains. Sales for May were up 5.1% over April’s upwardly revised annualized total of 5.09 million.

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