Forex News – US existing home sales on the rise

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The number of existing homes sold in the United States increased by 5 percent in December, which is the highest level since January 2011, a sign the housing market is picking up momentum. Sales number beat forecast of 4.1 percent rise, and up from November’s 4.0 percent increase.

The number of pre-owned homes rose by an annualized pace of 4.61 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors, just a little shy of the forecast of 4.65 million units  and ujp from a prior 4.42 million units.

Sales for the full year were up 1.7% to 4.26 million, the NAR said. The rise in sales resulted in a drop in housing inventory to a 6.2 months’ supply.

Foreclosures and short sales accounted for about a third of all sales in the month.

A main driver in the rise in sales is probably attributed to historically low mortgage rates and a pickup in employment which may be giving more Americans the confidence to purchase homes that have fallen in value.

However, there are still alot of foreclosures which may inhibit a faster recovery in real estate as more distressed properties are put on the market.