Pending sales of existing homes rose to the highest level in two-and-a-half years in November, and gains are expected to continue in the new year.  The National Association of Realtors says the number of contracts signed to buy an existing home last month rose 1.7 percent from November. Pending sales were up 9.8 percent from a year earlier.  Pending sales reached the highest level since April 2010, when buyers were racing to beat a deadline for a homebuyer tax credit…

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