The National Association of Realtors announced July sales of existing homes rose to an annual rate of 4.47 million, close to expectations.

Interestingly, the NAR says sales could be even higher: “The market is constrained by unnecessarily tight lending standards and shrinking inventory supplies, so housing could easily be much stronger without these abnormal frictions.”

What would be normal? The NAR said current demographics would support existing home sales in the 5.0-5.5 million range if conditions were optimal.

But of course, conditions are not. First-time and move-up buyers are restrained by tight lending standards and weak job growth. See the full story at