The pace of sales of existing homes in the United States rose 2.9 percent in April, according to an industry survey on Wednesday that supported views the three-year housing recession was near a bottom.

The National Association of Realtors said sales climbed to an annual rate of 4.68 million units from a downwardly revised 4.55 million pace in March, initially reported as 4.57 million. That was slightly higher than market expectations for a 4.66 million-unit pace.

The inventory of existing homes for sale rose 8.8 percent to 3.97 million. The median national home price fell 15.4 percent from the same period a year-ago to $170,200.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)