The Commerce Department says sales rose 6.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 from an upwardly revised 405,000 in September. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a pace of 410,000.
Home shoppers in October were acting before lawmakers decided to extend a tax credit for first-time buyers and expand it to existing homeowners. Nevertheless, sales were up 5.1 percent from a year ago, the first yearly increase since November 2005.
The median sales price of $212,200 was off 0.5 percent from $213,200 a year earlier, but up 0.7 percent from September's level of $210,700.