The U.S. housing market perked up in May, as sales rebounded to hit their highest pace in nearly six years.
Sales of previously owned homes jumped 5.1% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the National Assn. of Realtors said Monday.
The national gain, which beat analyst expectations, followed a 3.3% dip in April.
Lawrence Yun, the Realtors' chief economist, said the May gain was partly driven by a jump in listings, as well as increased confidence among first-time home buyers.
Strong job growth for young adults and low down-payment programs are helping more young buyers enter the marketplace, according to Yun.
"The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign," he said in a statement. "More first-time buyers are expected to enter the market in coming months, but the overall share climbing higher will depend on how fast rates and prices rise."
In May, the national median home price rose 7.9% from a year earlier to $228,700.
In the West, the median price climbed 10.2% from a year earlier, while sales rose 4.3% from April, when adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.