Existing single-family home sales jumped from November to December, while overall sales in 2003 easily surpassed the previous record in 2002, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales increased 6.9 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.47 million units from a level of 6.05 million units in November. Last month's sales activity was 8.9 percent higher than the 5.94-million unit level in December 2002 and was second only to a record 6.68 million-unit pace in September 2003. There were a total of 6.1 million existing-home sales in 2003, up 9.6 percent from the previous record of 5.56 million in 2002. NAR began tracking the sales series in 1968. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the housing market continues to offer surprises. "We've been expecting the pace of home sales to ease, and a decline in November seemed to indicate a more sustainable pace, but the rebound in December – the second highest monthly pace on record...
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