Total sales of existing homes increased by 2% in July, This is the third consecutive month of sales gains.

Existing-homes sales at their highest pace since February 2007.

The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now.

First-timers take a hit

First-time homebuyers experienced a slump in sales, however. The share of newbie buyers fell from 30% in June to 28% in July, which is the lowest level seen since January. Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a down payment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options.

Median home prices jump

Regionally, existing-home sales were up from June to July in the South and the West. Median home prices have increased year over year in every region.