First-time buyers drove home sales to new heights in May

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The number of closed sales of existing homes rose to the highest level since 2009, and prices nationwide were up sharply from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors says total existing home sales rose 5.1 percent from April. Year-over-year sales have increased for eight consecutive months, and existing home sales in May were 9.2 percent higher than May 2014.

The median price of an existing home sale that closed in May was up 7.9 percent from a year ago

First-time buyers led the gains, accounting for 32 percent of all closed sales in May.