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Housing

Tax Break Pushes Existing Home Sales Upward

Sales of existing homes hit a two-year high last month, as buyers scrambled to use the $8,000 federal tax break for rookie owners. Bloomberg reports:

Purchases jumped 9.4 percent to a 5.57 million annual rate, more than forecast and following a 5.09 rate in August, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median price fell at the slowest pace in a year.

The tax break runs out Nov. 30. Some members of Congress and the housing lobby have been pushing to extend the program and increase the amount to as much as $15,000. A Treasury Department audit this week show signs of fraud and abuse in the program. One reported buyer was four years old.