December existing home sales rise by 6.5%

By: By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer
By: By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A real estate group says sales of existing homes rose 6.5% from November to December, closing out the worst year for the U.S. real estate market in more than a decade.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes rose to an annual rate of 4.74 million in December, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.45 million in November.

December's sales had been expected to fall to a pace of 4.4 million units, according to Thomson Reuters.

The median sales price plunged to $175,400, down 15.3% from $207,000 a year ago. That was the lowest price since May 2003 and the biggest year-over-year drop on records going back to 1968.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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