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US existing home sales rise 3.4% in April

The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously owned homes in April rose at the fastest pace in nearly two years.

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Foreclosure sales are so popular in some states, that there aren't enough foreclosures to sell, the National Association of Realtors said. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

US existing home sales in April rose at the fastest pace in nearly two years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said today.

According to the Financial Times, sales of previously owned homes rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.62 million units in April, which was the highest level since May 2010.

The figure was below analysts’ forecasts of 4.66 million units, but was higher than the downwardly revised 4.47 million in March.

Analysts said the report was positive, though it did not signal the end of the country's economic woes. 

"We're still a ways from looking at an encouraging picture of the US economy, though when it comes to housing, every little bit helps," Camilla Sutton, a currency strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto, told Reuters.

Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist for High Frequency Economics, told the Associated Press he expected the upward trend to continue in the coming months “as payrolls pick up further and mortgage availability improves.”

The pick up in sales was linked to the improving jobs market and record-low mortgage rates, MarketWatch said.

The median price for a home resale rose to $177,000 last month, up 10.1 percent from a year ago, as the proportion of distressed sales fell to 28 percent in April from 29 percent the month before and 37 percent a year ago, NAR said.

“A diminishing share of foreclosed property sales is helping home values,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120522/us-existing-home-sales-rise-34-april