Sales of existing U.S. homes probably increased in October to the highest level in more than two years, spurred in part by a tax credit that lured first-time buyers, economists said before a report today.
Purchases rose 2.3 percent to a 5.7 million annual rate, according to the median forecast of 60 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The expected increase from September’s 5.57 million pace would be the sixth in the past seven months.
Cheaper homes and stimulus such as the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit, extended and expanded by the Obama administration this month, have revived an ailing housing market that contributed to the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. Further improvement that would aid the economy’s recovery depends on an easing in unemployment and foreclosures.
“We are making progress in housing,” said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America Inc. in New York. “Inventories are getting under control due to the pickup in sales. It’s not going to be a vigorous recovery but it’ll contribute to growth.”
The National Association of Realtors’ report is due at 10 a.m. in Washington. Bloomberg survey estimates ranged from 5.2 million to 6 million. Resales fell to a 4.49 million pace in January, the lowest level since comparable records began in 1999.