Existing-home sales were slightly higher in October, and 1998 is on course to be a record year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing-home sales rose 2.1% in October, to an annual rate of 4.79 million units, 9.4% more than a year earlier.

The lowest mortgage rates in three decades, higher limits on loans eligible for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's FHA program, and an increase in financial products available to consumers will continue to drive first-time buyers into the market, said Sharon A. Millet, president of the Realtors association.

She said these factors also will let many trade-up buyers make their move.

The association projected existing-home sales of 4.75 million in 1998, a 12.6% increase from last year's total.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.