The housing market continued to show signs of improvement in November, with existing home sales at their highest level in three years, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

The inventory of homes for sale also shrank further, to a 4.8-month supply in November. That’s the lowest level in more than seven years. Realtors consider a 6-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

Total existing home sales, which include single-family homes and condominiums, rose 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million from a downwrdly revised 4.76 million in October , NAR says .

Existing home sales were 14.5% higher than in November 2011