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REPEAT: MNI DATA ANALYSIS:US Existing Home Sales Up To 5.81M

Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 15:01 GMT Dec 20/10:01 EST Dec 20
--November Sales Rate Highest Since December 2006
--Tax Bill Changes Less Detrimental To Home Buyers
By Kevin Kastner, Sara Haire and Holly Stokes
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - Home resales surged 5.6% in November to an annual rate
of 5.81 million, well ahead of expectations for a slight increase to a 5.51
million pace as both single-family and condo sales jumped, data released by the
National Association of Realtors Wednesday showed.
     October sales were revised up slightly to a 5.50 million rate from the
originally reported 5.48 million annual rate.
     --SUPPLY REMAINS SOFT
     NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun repeated to reporters that tight supply
continues to boost prices well ahead of wage growth.
     The number of housing units available for sale fell by 7.2% in November to
a total of 1.67 million houses, cutting the months supply to record low 3.4
months at the current sales pace from 3.9 months in October.
     More telling, the supply of homes was down 9.7% year/year, the 30th
straight month of year/year declines for supply.
     Yun added that a great majority of home owners will qualify for the
mortgage interest and property tax deductions in the version of the tax bill
likely to be passed Wednesday. But NAR said many potential buyers commented that
the tax bill was not an influential factor on whether to buy or not.
     --REGIONAL DATA SURGING
     Sales rose 6.7% in the Northeast, 8.4% in the Midwest and 8.3% in the
South, but declined by 2.3% in the West region. 
     Sales of single-family homes rose by 4.5%, while sales of condos were up
14.3%.
     --PRICES STILL RACING
     November's national median price of $248,000 was up 5.8% from a year
earlier, well outpacing wage growth.
--MNI Washington Bureau; tel: +1 202-371-2121; email: kevin.kastner@marketnews.com

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