) -- Finally, some good news in the housing sector this week: it was announced today that home sales rose much more than expected in September.
The National Association of Realtors said sales soared by 9.4%, their highest level in more than two years, to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.57 million. Economists expected home sales to rise to an annual pace of 5.35 million.
The median sales price was $174,900, and while this is still down 8.5% from last year, it is the smallest decline in over a year.
Earlier this week, however, the Commerce Department said
, but missed expectations, and building permits slipped 1.2%, in their biggest decline since April.
Also on Thursday
, following three consecutive months of declines.
Shares of home builders are mostly in the red in morning trading.
is slipping 1.1% to $15.99,
is down 1.6% to $14.49, while
has fallen 3% to $35.63.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York
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