By Mark Memmott

Good news from the housing sector, though it may be short-lived:

Sales of so-called existing homes rose a sharp 10.1% in October from September, the National Association of Realtors reports, and hit a 6.1 million unit annual rate -- the fastest pace since February 2007.

In a statement, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says "many buyers have been rushing to beat the deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of this month, and similarly robust sales may be occurring in November. With such a sale spike, a measurable decline should be anticipated in December and early next year before another surge in spring and early summer."

The Realtors association adds that:

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $173,100 in October, down 7.1% from October 2008. Distressed properties, which accounted for 30% of sales in October, continue to downwardly distort the median price because they usually sell at a discount relative to traditional homes in the same area.

Planet Money follows the economic ups and downs where.

categories: Economy

10:04 - November 23, 2009