from Bloomberg Marketwatch:
Sales of existing U.S. homes rose 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million in January, the highest sales pace in seven months, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
It was the largest percentage gain in two years.
"The increase in sales is encouraging although it's uncertain whether the positive growth rate can be maintained with the return to more-normal winter temperatures as we move into 2007," wrote Paul Ferley, an economist for BMO Nesbitt Burns. "As well, some caution is still warranted on the possibility of housing spilling over into other areas of the economy given the return to declining home prices."
Resales of single-family homes rose 3.5% to 5.69 million annualized, while condo resales fell 0.1% to 767,000 annualized.
The results were "surprisingly strong," said David Lereah, chief economist for the real estate trade group. Lereah said he couldn't be confident that the bottom had been reached, because unusually warm weather earlier helped to boost sales in January.