Markets & Economy

Existing-home sales in 2013 were strongest in 7 years

Despite improvement, some loss of momentum seen

Existing-home sales last year hit their highest level since 2006 as the housing market continued to stabilize, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported.Compared to 2012, existing-home sales in 2013 increased by 9.1 percent to 5.09 million, marking the strongest performance since 2006, "when sales reached an unsustainably high 6.48 million at the close of the housing boom," NAR said.NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the housing market has experienced a healthy recovery over the past two years. Job growth, pent-up demand and low mortgage rates have helped drive up existing-home sales nearly 20 percent since 2011, he said.Despite the improvement, Yun noted that the recovery has slowed recently.“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," he said.Existing-home sales edged up slightly in December, rising 1 percent to ...