WASHINGTON: Sales of previously owned US homes rose in October at a faster-than-expected pace to the highest in more than 2 1/2 years as buyers rushed to take advantage of a popular tax credit, a survey showed on Nov 23.

The National Association of Realtors said sales surged a record 10.1% month-over-month to an annual rate of 6.10 million units, the highest since February 2007, from a downwardly revised 5.54 million-unit pace in September.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected October sales to jump to a 5.70 million-unit pace from the previously reported 5.57 million units in September. Compared to October last year, home sales were up by a record 23.5%.

US stock indexes extended gains on the data, while Treasury debt prices were little changed.

"Many buyers have been rushing to beat the deadline for first-time buyer credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of this month, and similarly robust sales may be occurring in November," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. -- Reuters