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Existing-home sales rise in November

Inventory remains elevated at 9.5-month supply

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Sales of existing homes rose in November compared to the month before, but fell sharply compared to November 2009, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. After a monthly drop in October, closed sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops increased 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million last month. "Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorable," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in a statement. Nevertheless, sales were down 27.9 percent from a rate of 6.49 million in November 2009, when sales surged in advance of the original deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit on Nov. 30, 2009. That month, first-time buyers accounted for 51 percent of sales, compared with 32 percent in November 2010, according to a sepa...