Sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.7% in November to set a new annual sales record, while house price appreciation hit 10.4%.The National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales rose from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.76 million in October to 6.94 million in November. Sales of existing homes for the first 11 months of 2004 have already surpassed the 2003 record of 6.1 million single-family units sold. NAR chief economist David Lereah said the housing market remains "very healthy," despite a Dec. 23 report by the U.S. Census Bureau that new-home sales fell by 12% in November. Mr. Lereah called the decline an "anomaly" and said he expects that government economists will revise it upward. Even though house prices are rising at the fastest clip in 17 years, the NAR economist stressed that, in his view, there is "no price bubble." He is forecasting a modest slowdown in sales next year, which should take some pressure off prices. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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