Sales of existing homes rose 5.5 percent to a record pace in August, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said.

Sales of previously owned homes climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.47 million units from a revised 6.13 million unit rate the month before. The number easily surpassed expectations of analysts polled by Reuters who forecast a rate of 6.05 million homes.

The median sales price of pre-owned homes shrank to $177,500 in August, down 2.3 percent from the same month a year earlier. Sales rose across the country in August, with the biggest jump being in the West, an eight percent gain. The smallest rise occurred in the Northeast, which posted a 1.4 percent gain.