US homes sales mixed

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US homes sales mixed

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There have been mixed signals on the recovery of the US property market.

Sales of newly built single-family homes unexpectedly fell to their lowest level in seven months in November.

However,sales of previously owned homes – a much bigger segment of the market – jumped to the highest level in nearly three years last month.

They were up 7.4 percent, boosted by a government tax credit for first-time buyers.

Chicago estate agent Sally Haynes said prices are picking up: “On many of the deals I’m writing right now I’m facing multiple offers. I think that’s a clear sign that peoples’ confidence is back.”

The US Commerce Department said sales of new homes dropped 11.3 percent last month the biggest decline since January.

And analyst Nariman Behraveshm, of IHS Global Insight, said there is a long way to go yet: “I think the worst of the housing crunch is behind us, but I would not interpret this as somehow or other the beginning of some kind of sustained rally in housing. Thing are getting better, but at a much slower rate than the home sales numbers and the surge in home sales would suggest.”

And there was one telling statistic from the National Association of Realtors. It said that of the pre-owned homes sold in November a third were foreclosures – that is they have been repossessed by lenders – or were otherwise distressed sales.