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UPDATE:Existing home sales in December grew by 5.0% to an annual rate of 4.61 million, missing economist predictions slightly, data from the National Association of Realtors shows.
Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected the rate to accelerate to 5.2%, representing 4.65 million units.
For the full year, some 4.26 million units were sold, representing a 1.7% increase against 2010.
“The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said. “Record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices are giving more consumers the confidence they need to enter the market.”
Existing housing inventory declined 9.2% during the month to 2.38 million units, or a 6.2-month supply at the current sales rate. In November, existing inventory represented a 7.2-month supply.
“The inventory supply suggests many markets will see prices stabilise or grow moderately in the near future,” Yun said.
Financing remained a key issue for many closings, with more than 30% of NAR members reporting contract failures in December. That rate stood at 9% in December 2010.
November’s sales pace was revised down by 70 basis points to 3.3% and 4.39 million units, from 4.0% and 4.42 million units, respectively.
Minutes away from today’s big economic announcement: existing home sales.
Economists predict the rate, which has been steadily increasing, to accelerate 5.2% for the December period, representing 4.65 million sales.
In November, the rate advanced to 4.0% to an annual rate of 4.42 million.
However, during that same announcement, the National Association of Realtors reported that it had inflated sales over a four-year period, inflating the sales rate by some two million homes.
Below, a look at existing and new home sales:
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