Posted by: jeb1 | December 24, 2010

Home Sales Post Third Gain in Four Months in November

WASHINGTON — Sales of previously owned U.S. homes edged up in November, the third increase in four months after a dismal summer for home-buying.

The National Association of Realtors says people bought previously owned homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million units last month, a gain of 5.6% from October.



The increases follow the worst summer for home sales in more than a decade. Even with the gains, sales were about 10% below the 5.2 million sales pace that analysts consider a healthy pace for housing.

Potential buyers are not getting help with mortgage rates, which are rising and discouraging borrowing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says its overall mortgage application index decreased 18.6% from the previous week. The refinance index dropped 24.6%, marking the sixth decline in a row. The purchase index slipped 2.5% last week.

Rates on fixed mortgages continued to edge up last week, remaining at the highest levels in six months. They are rising because Treasury yields have been increasing on rosier economic data and expectations that tax cuts will spur growth and spark higher inflation. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

Rates had been hitting decade lows almost every week since spring as investors, worried about the economy, sought less risky Treasury bonds.

The national median price for a home sold in November was $170,600, the Realtors group said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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