The National Association of Realtors said seasonally adjusted sales rose to 5.28 million last month from 4.7 million for November, which was upwardly revised a few thousand. The monthly rate is down 2.9% from the 5.44 million units sold in December 2009.
Economists polled by Econoday were expecting December sales to climb to 4.9 million with a range of estimates from 4.55 million and 5.04 million. A Briefing.com survey projected sales of 4.85 million for last month.
“December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery. The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain,” states Housing Wire.