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Existing Home Sales Rose 1.4%, Beating Expectations

The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose slightly last month but remained at depressed levels. And more deals are being canceled at the last minute, a sign that even those who are in the market for homes are nervous.

Lane Oatey | Getty Images

The National Association of Realtors said home sales rose 1.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million. That's below the 6 million that economists said is consistent with a healthy housing market and slightly ahead of last year's sales — the worst in 13 years.

The sales are measured when buyers close on the homes.

Many deals are falling apart before that point. One third of Realtors said they had at least one contract scuttled in October, up from 18 percent in September.

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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