Having gained 2.5 percent in July, the seasonally adjusted pace of existing-home sales across the U.S. ticked up another 1.3 percent in August to an annual rate of 5.49 million transactions which is now 2.6 percent above its mark at the same time last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

At the same time, the inventory of existing homes on the market across the nation dropped 2.1 percent to 1.86 million homes, which is 2.6 percent lower than at the same time last year.

But out West, the pace of existing-home sales actually dropped 3.4 percent in August to an annual rate of 1.14 million sales but remains 1.8 percent below its pace at the same time last year (with the pace of sales in San Francisco down while inventory levels are up).

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