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Good Signs: Home Sales Are Up; Builders' Confidence Is Also Higher

Two positive economic indicators:

-- "Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, while home prices continued to rise due to lower levels of inventory supply," the National Association of Realtors reports.

Its says homes sold at a 4.79 million annual rate last month, up from 4.69 million in September. Meanwhile, the "national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,600 in October, which is 11.1 percent above a year ago. This marks eight consecutive monthly year-over-year increases, which last occurred from October 2005 to May 2006."

-- " Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes posted a solid, five-point gain to 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for November, released today. This marks the seventh consecutive monthly gain in the confidence gauge and brings it to its highest point since May of 2006."

Bloomberg News looks at the reports (here and here) and concludes they're additional signs that the housing sector is on the mend. And a healthy housing sector is critical to the economy — not just for the construction jobs it supports, but for the job growth it triggers in other sectors as new homeowners furnish and fix up their houses.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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