SIGNED CONTRACTS TO BUY HOMES RISE 0.8 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER [2014]

National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates that 2014 sales will end up below 2013 levels. The trade group forecasts that 4.94 million existing homes will be sold this year, down 3 percent from 5.09 million in 2013. Analysts say sales of roughly 5.5 million existing homes are common in a healthy real estate market.

Hopes are higher for the new year. In 2015, the group expects sales of existing homes to jump to 5.3 million.

The U.S. economy has generated 2.65 million new jobs so far this year, and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent at the start of 2014. Buying could also be helped by average 30-year mortgage rates staying close to a 19-month low. Rates nationwide averaged 3.87 percent this week, according to the mortgage company Freddie Mac.


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