Sizzling U.S. Existing Home Sales Hit Record High

By Agence France-Presse Existing U.S. home sales hit a record pace for the third straight month in September, data showed Oct. 27, keeping a powerful burner under the economy. New home sales also remained high. "With mortgage rates still low, the extraordinary home-buying binge continues unabated," said Naroff Economic Advisors chief economist Joel Naroff. Sales of existing single-family homes surged 3.6% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in September, the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) said. NAR President Cathy Whatley said she expected existing home sales to rise about 6% over last year's record to roughly 5.9 million home sales in 2003. "Favorable market conditions will continue to drive home sales in 2004, but it will be hard to match this year's unprecedented level," she said. New home sales, meanwhile, reached 1.145 million in September, down 0.2% from the previous month and up 8.3% from the same period last year, according to a separate survey by the U.S. Commerce Department. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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