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Real Estate Sales Rise in December

Sales of existing US homes jumped 12.3% in December, providing an encouraging end to the worst year since 1997, as the collapse in house prices and a wave of foreclosures depressed activity over the 12-month period.

The National Association of Realtors on Thursday said existing-home sales rose from November to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 5.28 million.

November’s sales were revised higher to 4.7 million from the initial 4.68 million reading. The raw, unadjusted figures showed sales rising to 404,000 in December from 355,000 in November.

The jump in the mortgage rate to 4.8%, a rise of roughly a half percentage point from depths, has helped induce on-the-fence buyers back into the market, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. The improving economy also helped confidence, Yun said.

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