Sales of previously owned U.S. homes jumped last month to their highest level in more than two and a half years, but a fall in an economic gauge was a reminder that recovery from recession would be patchy.


Sales of existing homes surged a record 10.1 percent month over month in October to an annual rate of 6.10 million units, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday, as many rushed to take advantage of a popular tax credit for first-time buyers that had been scheduled to end this month.


It was the highest sales pace since February 2007 and beat market expectations for a 5.70-million unit pace. Sales in September were at a 5.54-million unit rate.