Purchases of existing homes rose 5.5% last month, to a 5.18 million annual pace, the highest level in a year, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.

"This may be a temporary bump as we clear out these foreclosed properties," said Adam York, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte. "As the meltdown really hits these figures in late October and November, that's when we could see some retracement."

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