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November 25, 2009

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Home » Business » Real Estate

House sales see leap to highest in over 2 years

SALES of previously owned homes in the United States jumped last month to their highest level in more than two years, but a fall in an economic gauge was a reminder that recovery from recession would be patchy.

Sales of existing homes surged a record 10.1 percent month over month in October, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday, as buyers rushed to take advantage of a popular tax credit for first-time buyers due to end this month.

"Although the data is biased higher from policy measures, we do believe this sharp gain signals pent-up demand and a willingness to purchase homes, which is a good sign for the sustainability of the housing recovery," said Michelle Meyer, an economist at Barclays Capital in New York.

The housing numbers, which easily topped market expectations, helped drive up stocks, but a decline in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's index of national economic activity offered a more sobering picture.

The White House said on Monday it was reviewing options to spur economic activity and job creation, but stressed any action would be taken in the context of the fiscal challenges facing the country.


Sales of existing homes surged in October to an annual rate of 6.10 million units, the NAR reported, beating market expectations for a 5.70 million unit pace and above September's 5.54 million unit rate.

The housing market is slowly mending after a three-year decline.

US stocks snapped a three-day losing streak on the housing data, which eclipsed the report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago showing its National Activity Index, a measure of the economy, slid to minus 1.08 from minus 1.01 in September.


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