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Home sales up 10 pct. in Sept.; short of recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sales of previously occupied homes rose last month after a dismal summer but remain well short of healthy levels.

The National Association of Realtors says sales grew 10 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million. They were still down 19 percent from the same month a year earlier. August’s results were revised downward slightly.

High unemployment, tight credit and the prospect of future declines in home prices have kept people from buying homes. Plus, the prospect of lawsuits from former homeowners claiming that banks made errors when seizing their homes is making some consumers fearful about buying foreclosed properties.

The median sale price was $171,700, down 2.4 percent from the same month year ago.