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Sales of U.S. homes increase


February 19. 2013 6:12PM
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WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose solidly in October, helped by improvement in the job market and record-low mortgage rates.


The increase along with a jump in homebuilder confidence this month suggests the housing market continues to recover.


The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales rose 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million. That's up from 4.69 million in September, which was revised lower.


The sales pace is roughly 11 percent higher than a year ago. But it remains below the more than 5.5 million that economists consider consistent with a healthy market.


As the economy slowly recovers, more people have started looking to buy homes or rent apartments. Prices are steadily climbing, while mortgage rates have been low all year. At the same time, rents are rising, making the purchase of a single-family home or condominium more attractive.


Altogether, the report is encouraging, said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital. Our view is that housing is in a recovery phase, he added, though it will be restrained by limited credit and modest job gains.




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