WASHINGTON (AP) – Home resales rose far more than expected last month to the highest level in more than two years as buyers scrambled to complete their purchases before a tax credit for first-time owners expires.

The National Association of Realtors says sales rose 9.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million during September, from a downwardly revised pace of 5.1 million during August. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 5.35 million, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

The median sales price was $174,900, down 8.5 percent from a year earlier, but the smallest annual drop in 13 months.