Sales of previously owned homes rose in September to the third highest level on record as low mortgage rates beckoned buyers.
The National Association of Realtors reported today that after two straight months of declines, sales rose 3.1 percent in September from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.75 million units, the third-highest showing ever.
The figures were better than analysts were expecting. They were forecasting sales of previously owned homes to clock in at around a 6.54 million pace for September.
Low mortgage rates have bolstered housing activity, and the housing market has been a bright spot for the economy -- not only during the 2001 recession but also in its subsequent recovery. Economists expect home sales to set new record highs for all of 2004.