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US existing home sales rise 1% in December

US existing home sales increased 1.0 per cent in December from November, wrapping up the strongest year for sales in seven years, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: US existing-home sales increased 1.0 per cent in December from November, wrapping up the strongest year for sales in seven years, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

Sales of used single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops hit an annual pace of 4.87 million units, compared with a revised 4.82 million the previous month.

For the entire year, sales totaled 5.09 million, up 9.1 per cent from 2012. That was the best pace since 2006 when the US housing bubble peaked and began to deflate, which turned into the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

"Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 per cent since 2011, with job growth, record-low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

"We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population."

The median price for existing homes last month was US$198,000, up 9.9 per cent from December 2012.

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