U.S. Home Sales Rise 5% in December
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in December to the highest level since January 2011, adding to evidence residential real estate was stabilizing heading into the new year.
Purchases (ETSLTOTL) increased for a third month, climbing 5 percent to a 4.61 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The gain helped push the number of houses on the market to a six-year low.
Less-expensive properties, a pickup in employment and the lowest mortgage rates on record may give Americans the confidence to take on their biggest investment, buying a house. At the same time, the foreclosure crisis continues to threaten parts of the country, which will probably inhibit more broad- based gains in the industry that triggered the recession.
“It’s going to be a slow process, but we are finally starting to see signs that an adjustment is occurring in housing,” said Troy Davig, a senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. “You’re going to have some markets where foreclosures were less of an issue and those markets are going to do quite well.”
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