By John S. McClenahen Maybe many economists in the U.S. weren't buying homes in June and figured others weren't either. In any event, defying forecasts for a decline, sales of existing single-family homes rose to a record seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.95 million units in June, the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on July 26. June's figure was 2.1% higher the previous record on 6.81 million units in May. However, new-home sales may be closing in on their peak, suggests David Lereah, NAR's chief economist. "It's unlikely that we'll top the pace in June, but home sales remain very healthy and are likely to stay quite strong, even with some easing expected in the second half of the year."