Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

September home sales up 9%

First-timers account for 45% of sales in last year

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Demand from first-time homebuyers helped drive a 9.4 percent increase in sales of existing homes from August to September, the National Association of Realtors said today, continuing a trend of increasing sales in five out of the last six months.At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million, sales of existing single-family, townhome, condominium and co-op properties in September were also up 9.2 percent from a year ago.That's the highest rate of sales in more than two years -- a mark last exceeded in July 2007 when homes were selling at an annual pace of 5.73 million, NAR said.Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 7.5 percent, to 3.63 million existing homes -- 7.8 months of supply at the current sales pace. That's down from an 9.3-month supply in August, and closer to the six months of supply that is widely considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.Much of the momentum is from buyers taking advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, which is sc...