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US home purchases up 5 pct. in December, 2011 sales barely ahead of dismal 2010 totals
WASHINGTON (AP) ' Home sales rose in December to the highest pace in nearly a year. The gain coincides with other signs that show the troubled U.S. housing market improved at the end of last year
Still, sales remain depressed and ended 2011 well below healthy levels.
The National Association of Realtors says home sales increased 5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million.
For the year, home sales totaled only 4.26 million, up from 4.19 million the previous year. Since the housing bust four years ago, home sales have slumped under the weight of foreclosures, tighter credit and falling price.