Existing-Home Sales Jump To Highest Level in 2-1/2 Years !!!

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Existing-Home Sales Jump To Highest Level in 2-1/2 Years
Published: Monday, 23 Nov 2009 | 10:34 AM ET
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By: Reuters

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in October at a faster-than-expected pace to the highest in more than 2-1/2 years as buyers rushed to take advantage of a popular tax credit, a survey showed Monday.

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Existing home sales rose to their highest level in 2-1/2 years, with help from the first-time buyers tax credit, the NAR said.

The National Association of Realtors said sales surged a record 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 6.10 million units, the highest since February 2007, from a downwardly revised 5.54 million unit pace in September.

"I think some fundamental weaknesses in the housing market are being papered over by a strong shot of adrenaline in the form of buyers rushing to take advantage of the expiring tax credit and historically low mortgage rates," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.com.

"The extension and expansion of these tax credits may keep sales from quickly falling off the cliff in the next couple of months, but we are going to have to pay back this demand at some point in the near future," he said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected October sales to jump to a 5.70 million unit pace from the previously reported 5.57 million units in September. Compared to October last year, home sales were up by a record 23.5 percent.

"It's a step in the right direction and certainly further indication that the economy is probably not headed for a double-dip recession next year," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners.

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