December existing home sales jumped 12.3% with seasonally-adjusted 5.28 million sales. Analysts were looking for 4.8 million.

That’s trumps the 10% jump in September, amounting to the biggest rise in decades. The surge could be due to expectations that the homebuyer tax credit will be extended.

Before you get too excited, we’re still down 2.9 per cent from 2009, thanks in part to a huge collapse in July.

The market impact will be also be offset by disappointing Philly Fed data that just came out. UPDATE: The market has turned south.

Read the full release here >

Background: Analysts were looking for an increase to 4.80 million sales, from 4.68 million in November. This number has been dismally low for a long time now. There was a plunge a July, a spike in August and September and a slow rise since then.

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