The sales of existing homes rose 4.5% in April to 7.18 million units on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, breaking the record of 7.02 million set in June 2004, according to figures compiled by the National Association of Realtors.The total, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-operatives, was up significantly from the downwardly revised rate of 6.87 million units recorded in March, the trade group said. The figure was up 5.7% from the 6.79 million rate of April 2004. "A new record is a bit unexpected, but so is the performance of mortgage interest rates, which have been lower than forecast," said NAR chief economist David Lereah. "When we look at recent job gains, we see all the positive factors coming together to coincide with a powerful demographic demand for housing." Single-family resales alone totaled 6.28 million units in April on an annualized basis, also a record high and 5% higher than the 5.98 million rate recorded in April 2004. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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