Sales of existing homes were up 27.2 percent during the last three months of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier, hitting a seasonally adjusted rate of 6 million, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

That’s a 13.9 percent increase from the 5.29 million annual rate seen during the third quarter, as homebuyers moved to take advantage of low interest rates and a tax credit that was set to expire but was ultimately extended and expanded by Congress, NAR said.

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