A jump in previously occupied homes and a rise in new construction suggest the housing sector may be headed for recovery.

Existing home sales rose 7.8% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million units, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Total houses sold rose 9.3% from the same period last year and reached their highest level since May 2010, when buyers, spurred by a tax credit, closed deals on a seasonally adjusted 5.66 million homes.

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