Existing home sales rose 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million homes in November, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report released today. The news comes after a 2.1% rise in October, providing further evidence of an overall housing market improvement.

Compared to November 2011, these newest numbers reflect a 14.5% year-over-year increase. Sales are at their highest level since November 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. "With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes."

In additional news, existing homes are selling for more, with median prices up 10.1% compared to November 2011. This is the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year price improvements. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $180,600 in November, according to the association.

Total housing inventory at the end of November fell 3.8% to 2.03 million existing homes available for sale, according to the association. This represents a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace.