Data from the National Association of Realtors show existing-home sales rose 5.9% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million -- the highest rate since November 2009.
The rate shows an increase over the downwardly revised pace of 4.76 million in October. The November rate is also 14.5% higher than the 4.40 million-unit pace set in November 2011.
"Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show storm-related disruptions, but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset by gains in unaffected areas."
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up 10.1% from November 2011. This is the ninth consecutive monthly year-over-year price gain, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.