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Published: Tuesday, 1/1/2008

Used homes sell at faster pace in month


WASHINGTON - The pace of existing-home sales edged up in November from a record low, the first increase in nine months, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday.

The trade group said sales rose 0.4 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million units. But the pace of sales was the second-lowest since 1999. The lowest pace - 4.98 million - was registered in October.

By region of the country, sales were mixed.

They jumped 10.3 percent in November from October in the West and were flat in the Midwest. However, they fell 2 percent in the South and 3.3 percent in the Northeast.

In northwest Ohio, home sales slipped 13 percent to 528 from 610 in November 2006 and 16 percent from 629 in October, according to the Toledo Board of Realtors.

Nationally, the inventory of unsold homes dipped to 10.3 months' supply at November's sales pace from 10.7 in October but remained elevated at 4.3 million units.

In northwest Ohio, the number of unsold houses declined 6 percent to 8,559 from 9,062 in October.

But the inventory remained elevated at 4.3 million homes as ongoing turmoil in the credit markets thinned the pool of potential buyers.

Over the past year, sales of existing homes have plummeted by 20 percent.

A separate report Friday showed that sales of new homes slumped 9 percent in November to the lowest rate in more than 12 years.

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