WASHINGTON  - Sales of previously owned homes in the United States surged last month as prices continued to fall and buyers rushed to take advantage of a popular tax credit, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Tuesday.

The group said that sales rose 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 6.54 million units, the fastest pace since February 2007, and higher than the 6.25 million unit pace expected.

October sales were revised lower to a 6.09 million pace from 6.10 million units. Compared to November last year, sales of existing homes were up 44.1 percent, the largest yearly gain on records dating to 1999.

(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)