10.1% increase beats analyst expectations sevenfold.

According to an online news article by the Associated Press through MSNBC, home sales far exceeded expectations last month, surging to the highest level in two and a half years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of the expiring $8,000 tax credit.

This week, the National Association of Realtors said home resales rose 10.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.1 million in October, from a downwardly revised pace of 5.54 million in September.

The tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homeowners was originally set to run out Nov. 30, but Congress renewed it earlier this month and broadened its reach. People who have owned their current homes for at least five years can now claim a tax credit of up to $6,500 for a home purchase. To qualify, buyers must sign a purchase agreement by April 30.

Read the full story at MSNBC.msn.com >>