Existing-home sales soared 6.5 percent in July to an annual sales rate of 5.39 million, the highest level since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected existing-home sales to increase more modestly to 5.15 million from the June’s originally reported sales pace of 5.08 million. June sales were revised down to 5.06 million.