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HOMES MORE AFFORDABLE

The typical American family's ability to buy an existing home increased in October to its highest level in more than two years, a real estate trade group said Monday.

But despite falling home prices, lower mortgage interest rates and rising incomes, existing home sales fell 4.7 percent in October, according the National Association of Realtors.

The realtors group said its housing affordability index rose to 113.4 in October from 110.8 the previous month. That meant a family with a median income of $35,353 had 113.4 percent of the income needed to qualify for conventional financing to buy a median-priced home costing $92,800.

Buying conditions varied according to region. In the Northeast, a family earning the median income of $41,376 had 90.1 percent of the income needed to buy a median-priced home costing $136,200.

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