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January sees gains in sales of existing homes

Total existing-home sales, defined as completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.38 million-unit pace in December and are 0.7% above a spike to 4.54 million in January 2011.

The NAR figures were released Wednesday morning.

“The uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals -- pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. 

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 0.4% to 2.31 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 6.4-month supply in December.

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