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US resale prices rise as did 10 years ago

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Re-sales in the United States rose just as they did 10 years ago, in January, when buyers were wary of higher prices and mortgage rates. This is a sign of growing confidence in the economy.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that existing home sales rose 3.3 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million units last month. That was the highest level since February 2007. The December sales pace was revised up to 5.51 million units from the already reported 5.49 million units. Economists had forecast sales to be up 1.1 percent at a pace of 5.54 million units in January. The NAR also reviewed sales data since 2014. The revisions were minor and had no impact on the characterization of the housing market.

Sales rose 3.8 percent as of January 2016. Housing demand is supported by a strengthening labor market, which is improving employment opportunities for young adults and, in turn, Households.

A persistent shortage of properties available for sale, which is raising house prices, remains a stumbling block to a robust housing market. While the 30-year fixed mortgage rate appears to stabilize after rising rapidly in recent months, it remains above 4 percent. In contrast, annual wage growth is below 3 percent. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, editing by Paul Simao)

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