sold signU.S. home sales hit an 11-month high in December and the number of properties on the market was the fewest in nearly seven years, pointing to a nascent recovery in the housing sector.

The National Association of Realtors said on Friday existing home sales increased 5 percent, marking the third straight monthly increase, with all four of the nation’s regions recording gains.

“It seems that the housing sector may be slowly picking itself up off of the mat,” said Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

(READ the Reuters story in the Chicago Tribune)

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