That's a modest gain, but a recovery from the previous year's pace. In 2010, according to NAR, sales of existing homes fell 3.5 percent from the previous year. Still, sales remain well below the pre-housing bubble bust pace of 2007. That year, 5.04 million homes were sold — 15.5 percent more than in 2011.
In December, the Realtors group said, sales were up 5 percent from the month before and were selling at a 4.61 million annual rate. That's an 11-month high and could be pointing to "a nascent recovery in the housing market," Reuters says.