US home sales jump to highest level in 3 years

By Qiong (June) ZhangNo Comments

U.S. sales of previously occupied homes jumped to their highest level in three years last month, bolstered by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates (Rates History).

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales rose 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November. That’s up from 4.76 million in October.

Previously occupied home sales are on track for their best year in five years. November’s sales were the highest since November 2009. Excluding that month, last month’s sales were the highest since July 2007.

Sales are up 14.5% from a year ago. Prices are also rising, which encourages more potential buyers to come off the sidelines and purchase homes.

In addition, the excess supply of homes that built up during the housing bubble has finally thinned out. The number of previously occupied homes available for sale fell to a 10-year low in October. The supply of new homes is also near its lowest level since 1963.

The pace of home construction slipped in November, but it was still nearly 22% higher than a year earlier. Builders are on track this year to start work on the most homes in four years.

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