Sales of existing home rose 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September from 5.35 million in August, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday. Still, last month’s sales pace was 1.5% below a year ago and the second slowest over the past year (behind August).

“Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Realtors this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”