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Existing-home sales reach all-time high

Continuing low interest rates a key factor, says economist

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Sales of existing homes reached record levels in November, increasing 2.7 percent since October. Existing-home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.94 million units in November, up from 6.76 million units in October, the National Association of Realtors announced today. The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects a monthly sales total over a 12-month period. The previous record was 6.92 million, set in June 2004. November sales activity was 13.2 percent above the 6.13-million-unit level in November 2003. David Lereah, chief economist for the association, said the boost in sales is due in large part to continuing low interest rates. "Mortgage interest rates dropped a quarter of a percentage point in late summer and then stabilized," he said. "Coupled with a growing labor market and a rising economy, this created optimal conditions for the housing sector." He added, "Our forecast for the housing market is for a continuation of strong home sales, although down a little ...