Existing-home sales in November increase

A new report adds fuel to the notion that the housing market may have finally turned a corner.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales—which includes single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—increased 4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November compared to October. On a year-over-year basis, sales are up more than 12 percent.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, said it appears many people are finally starting to take advantage of a timely period for buyers.

"Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010—a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing," said. "We've seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today's market for buyers with long-term plans."

Moe Veissi, president of NAR, said record-low mortgage rates make housing conditions even more affordable. Before applying for a home loan, however, it may behoove borrowers to review their credit reports for any unfair or inaccurate marks, as these may add unnecessary hurdles to the lending process.