WASHINGTON - U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose solidly in October, helped by improvement in the job market and cheap mortgages.

The National Association of Realtors says sales rose 2.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million.

That's up from 4.69 million in September, which was revised lower.

The sales pace is roughly 11 per cent higher than a year ago. But it remains below the more than 5.5 million that economists consider consistent with a healthy market.

Superstorm Sandy delayed some sales in the Northeast, the Realtors' group said. Sales fell 1.7 per cent, the only region to show a decline.

Most of the drop was due to the storm, but those sales will likely be completed in future months, the group said.