Single-family existing home sales rose 2.4% in January following a 12% jump in December, according to new figures compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NARreported that sales of previously owned single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.69 million units in January from a 4.58 million rate in December.

Due to tight lending standards, the Realtors are seeing "abnormally high levels of-cash purchases," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

All-cash sales rose to 32% in January, from 26% year ago.

"With tight credit standards, it's not surprising to see so much activity where cash is king and investors are taking advantage of conditions to purchase undervalued homes," Yun said.

The latest NAR report shows that single-family sales (not including cooperatives and condos) rose 4.9% from January 2010.

However, single-family home prices are down 2.7% from a year ago mainly due to a 5.8% drop in the median sales price from $169,300 in December to 159,400 in January.

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