Economy improves but recovery hurdles persist
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of previously owned homes rose to an 11-month high in December and the supply of properties on the market dropped to a near 7-year low, an
industry group said on Friday, pointing to a nascent recovery in the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 5 percent month over month to an annual rate of 4.61 million units. November's sales pace was revised down to a 4.39 million-unit pace, previously reported as a 4.42 million-unit rate.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise to a 4.65 million-unit sales pace. Sales in December were up 3.6 percent from a year ago. A total of 4.26 million homes were sold in 2011, up 1.7 percent from the prior year.
The third straight month of gains in sales added to hopes that a tentative recovery in the housing market was starting take shape, but progress will be painfully slow given a glut of unsold properties that is weighing down on prices.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani)
Trending On Reuters
We are living longer but not creating financial plans to keep pace. Advisers give tips on how to make sure you don’t outlive your money. Video