U.S. existing-home sales gained 5.9 percent in November with home prices continued to trend up, a positive sign for housing sector recovery, a leading industry group reported on Thursday.
Existing home sales, which tally completed transactions for single-family houses, townhouses and condominiums, rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November from a downwardly revised 4.76 million in October. The level was 14.5 percent higher than the 4.40 million units registered in November 2011, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a report.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is healthy market demand and momentum continues to build in the housing market.
"With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes," he added.
Due to lower levels of inventory supply, the median existing home price for all housing types climbed 10.1 percent from a year ago to $180,600 in November, marking the ninth consecutive month of year-on-year increase, noted the report.
Distressed homes -- foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts -- accounted for 22 percent of November sales, down from 24 percent in October.
The U.S. Federal Reserve said last week the housing sector has shown further signs of improvement.
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