Sales of previously owned homes rose for the third straight month in November, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors. The improvement put home sales at their strongest pace since 2006 and 3.8 percent above where they were at this time last year. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says the economy is fueling increased interest in buying a home. “Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market, and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end,” Yun said. However, despite the overall improvement, there are still a lower-than-usual number of first-time home buyers active in the market. This is primarily due to the fact that there are more homes available for sale at the high end of the market than in the more affordable price ranges popular with new buyers. Yun says new construction is the answer. “The increase in homebuilder optimism must translate to significantly more new construction in 2018 to help ease these acute inventory shortages,” he said.