Homebuyers shrugged off slightly higher interest rates in August and sent home resales up 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.67 million units, the National Association of Realtors announced.

"Basically what we're seeing here is the movement of households into the market now to avoid what they perceive to be deteriorating conditions," said John Tuccillo, the association's chief economist."This has persisted through the summer and sustained strong levels of existing-home sales," he said.

The Northeast was the only region to post a decline in home resales from July to August, a 2.9 percent drop to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 units, the association said.

Sales of existing homes in the Midwest were unchanged from July at an annual rate of 910,000 units, the report said.

The South saw the sharpest increase, where sales were up 4.4 percent in August to a 1.42 million unit pace, and in the West the annual rate was unchanged at a rate of 650,000 units, the association said.

"We continue to see a shift in housing activity away from the Northeast and toward the Midwest and the South," Tuccillo said.

The national median existing single-family home price increased $600 from July to August to $91,300, up 5.5 percent from $86,500 a year ago, meaning half the homes in the country cost less than that and half cost more, the association said.

Although the Northeast had posted the highest annual appreciation rate of the four regions, prices there have softened recently while the other regions are catching up, the association said.

The association said 2.51 million existing single-family homes were on the market at the end of August, an 8.2-month supply at the August sales pace. That was down from an 8.3-month supply in July and an 8.4-month supply in August 1987, the association said.