Pundits and investors jumped on better-than-expected housing data to inject some rare exuberance into the market. As existing home sales for November rose to their highest level since February 2007, industry watchers predicted a buying spree in 2010, and offered hopes of a stabilizing housing market. Stocks rallied on the news.
The surge in home sales came as buyers scrambled to close deals before a new home buyer tax credit deadline on Nov. 30. The credit was subsequently extended. And a tax break for repeat home buyers that expires on April 30, 2010 should keep the momentum going.