This was spun as a good number, as it exceeded expectations, but check out the year over year chart below,
where sales have been down vs the same month last year for nearly a year:

The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Continue to Climb in July
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in July from a slight downwardly-revised 5.03 million in June. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen four consecutive months, but remain 4.3 percent below the 5.38 million-unit level from last July, which was the peak of 2013. …

Existing Home Sales

Existing home sales in July advanced 2.4 percent to an annualized pace of 5.15 million units, topping expectations for 5.00 million. June rose a revised 2.4 percent to a marginally downwardly revised 5.03 million. July sales were down 4.3 percent on a year-ago basis.

For the latest month, strength was in the single-family component which gained 2.7 percent to 4.55 million annualized. Condos were unchanged at 0.60 million.

Supply on the market actually rose faster than sales-up 3.5 percent in July to 2.37 million units. Months’ supply, however, was steady at 5.5 months.

The median price rose 0.4 percent in July to $222,900 (up 4.9 percent year-ago) while the average price increased 0.2 percent to $268,700 (up 3.7 percent year-ago).

Year over year chart:

Full size image

Full size image

Strange report here, but manufacturing in general doing reasonably well:

Details do not confirm what at the headline level, at 28.0 vs July’s 23.9, is exceptional acceleration this month in the Philly Fed’s manufacturing sector. New orders have slowed very sharply so far this month, to 14.7 vs July’s 34.2, while shipments are at 16.5, likewise well down from another 34.2 in July.

Unfilled orders are contracting and delivery times are improving, again both pointing to slowing activity. Employment growth is down as are price pressures.