U.S. existing home sales rose more than expected in July to hit a ten-month high, fuelling optimism over the health of the housing market, industry data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales increased 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted 5.15 million units last month from 5.03 million in June.

Analysts had expected existing home sales to dip 0.4% to 5.02 million units in July.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales momentum is slowly building behind stronger job growth and improving inventory conditions.

“The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market,” he said.

Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar held on to losses against the euro, with EUR/USD easing up 0.09% to trade at 1.3271.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets were higher after the open. The Dow picked up 0.3%, the S&P 500 tacked on 0.2%, while the NASDAQ Composite rose 0.15%.

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