January existing home sales fall by 5.3 percent (AP)

A home is for sale in North Andover, Mass. Monday, Feb. 23, 2009. A widely watched index shows home prices tumbled by the sharpest annual rate on record in the fourth quarter and in December. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)AP – Sales of existing homes unexpectedly plunged in January to the lowest level in nearly 12 years as pessimism about the economy grew and buyers waited for President Barack Obama’s plan to help revive the U.S. housing market.

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