RPT-UPDATE 1-US Nov existing home sales rose less than forecast

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(Adds details, comments from NAR chief economist)

WASHINGTON, Dec 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Sales of previously owned
homes rose less than expected in November, suggesting the U.S.
housing sector is struggling to gain traction as high
unemployment and tight lending standards continue to hamper
recovery.

Sales rose 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual unit
rate of 4.68 million units, the National Association of
Realtors said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had
been looking for a pace of about 4.71 million units.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said about one-third of
the market consisted of distressed sales, which include both
foreclosures and sales of homes where the bank agrees to take
less than what is owed.

Overall sales have fallen 27.9 percent over the past year,
while median prices have risen 0.4 percent to $170,600 in the
same period. That marks the first annual price increase since
August.

Yun said the group expects sales to total about 4.8 million
units for all of 2010. He expects sales to rebound to what he
considers a “healthy” pace of around 5.2 million by 2011.

(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

RPT-UPDATE 1-US Nov existing home sales rose less than forecast