Existing-home sales fell 2.7% in October, confirming a slowdown in the housing market, but house prices rose at the highest annual rate since 1979, when inflation was rampant.The National Association of Realtors reported that October sales of single-family homes, condominiums, and cooperatives fell from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.29 million in September to a 7.09 million rate in October. Inventories of unsold homes rose to a 4.9-month supply -- the highest in more than two years. However, the median sales price of a single-family home was $216,200 in October, up 16.6% from a year ago. "It is clear to me that the housing markets have peaked," NAR chief economist David Lereah said, noting that the prediction includes home price increases. He said he expects house price appreciation of only 5% in 2006. Sellers will have to reduce their expectations as the real estate market continues its transition to a buyer's market over the next four months, the NAR economist said. The NAR report shows that single-family home sales fell 2.5% in October, while condo and coop sales fell 4.4%. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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