Existing home sales climbed for the second month in a row in September, fueling hopes that a housing recovery is underway.

Sales of previously owned homes rose 10% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million units last month, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.

The report came in much stronger than expectations. Economists had forecast sales to edge up to an annual rate of 4.25 million units, according to consensus estimates from Briefing.com.

“A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales, with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions.”

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