Right at the moment when the U.S. real estate market seemed headed steadily deeper into gloom, the National Association of Retailers reported that sales of existing homes in August rose almost 19% over August 2010.

Existing home sales include single family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops. The NAR had reported a drop in July.

The NAR was sure to mention things like delayed sales which happened to close in August as part of the reason for the improved numbers, but also suggested market fundamentals are improving.

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