Existing single-family home sales climbed 3% for a record month in January, the National Assn. of Realtors announced last week.
Sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.09 million units in January from an upwardly revised level of 5.91 million in December.
Sales were 2.2% more than the previous record of 5.96 million units in January 2002, according to the association.
"We've just finished a record year for home sales, but mortgage interest rates dropped to a new low in January," said David Lereah, the association's chief economist.
"With real estate becoming the safe haven for investment, many factors are in place for a continuation of strong home sales."
Housing inventory levels increased 6.6% at the end of January, with 2.27 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 4.5-month supply at the current pace, up from a 4.3-month supply in December.
Regionally, the home resale pace in the West rose 5.1% to a record annual rate of 1.66 million units in January, up 3.1% from January 2002.