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U.S. existing home sales in October rise to highest level of 2014

U.S. existing home sales in October rise to highest level of 2014
Signs in Huntington Beach point to open houses. (Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Here come the home buyers.

Sales of previously owned homes climbed to their highest level in more than a year last month, as the unsteady housing recovery showed signs of stabilizing.

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Existing U.S. home sales rose 2.5% from October 2013, the first 12-month increase in a year, the National Assn. of Realtors said Thursday. Compared to September, sales increased 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million, the highest level since September 2013.

The positive report beat the expectations of analysts who forecast existing sales to drop from September.

Low mortgage rates, slowing price appreciation and an improving job market drove more Americans to purchase a house in October, said Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist.

Sales increased in every region except the West. There, sales fell 5% from September and 3.4% from October 2013.

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