Sales of previously owned homes rose unexpectedly from a record low last month, propelled by the biggest slump in prices since the Great Depression, the National Association of Realtors said.

Purchases rose 6.5% from November, to an annual rate of 4.74 million, the trade group said Monday. The median price dropped 15% from a year earlier — the biggest decline since records began in 1968 and probably the biggest in seven decades, according to the group.

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