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Sales of Existing Homes Jump 6.1%

Low mortgage rates continue to fuel the housing sector's growth.

Existing-home sales in October rose 6.1%, as low mortgage rates continued to fuel the housing sector's growth, according to the National Association of Realtors.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, home sales were 5.77 million, up from September's revised figure of 5.44 million. In October 2001, sales were 5.27 million.

"Obviously, historical lows in mortgage interest rates in recent months are a big stimulus," said David Lereah, chief economist of the NAR.

Inventory levels at the end of October were down 2.6% from September to a total of 2.23 million existing homes available for sale.

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The national median existing-home price was $159,600. That number is up 9.8% from $145,400 in October 2001, and is the largest price gain since July 1987, according to the NAR.