Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Existing Home Sales Jump 7.6% for August 2010

Existing home sales in August rose 7.6% after a big correction in July, but are still 19% lower than the sales pace from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on Thursday.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said existing home sales still remain subpar. “The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit. Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty,” Yun said.

The average rate for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.43% in August, down from 4.56% in July. A year ago, the average mortgage rate was 5.19%.

Yun added, “Home values have shown stabilizing trends over the past year, even as the economy shed millions of jobs, because of the home buyer tax credit stimulus. Now that the economy is adding some jobs, the housing market needs to steadily improve and eventually stand on its own.”

The national median price for all home types, including single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and co-ops was $178,600, up .8% from a year ago.

The median price for single-family homes was $179,300 in August, 1.9% higher than it was a year ago. Single-family homes represent the largest portion of sales by type of home; sales rose 7.4% in August but remain 19.2% lower than it was a year ago.

Distressed homes account for 34% of sales in August, up from 32% in July and up from 31% a year ago, a sign that many buyers are looking for a good deal.

In August there was an 11.6 month supply of existing homes on the market, down slightly from the 12.5 month supply in July.

By region, the West posted the highest gain in sales for August, up 13.8% from July but remains 16.1% lower than August 2009. Home prices are 2.5% lower than they were a year ago; the median price for a single-family home in this region was $214,700.

The Northeast had the highest yearly gain in median existing home price at $260,300, which is 7.6% higher than it was a year ago. Sales of existing homes in the Northeast rose 7.9% from the prior month but are 24.4% below the level a year ago.

The Midwest had a 5% increase in existing-home sales for August but the pace is 26.3% below what it was in August 2009. The median price of $149,600 is up .4% from what it was a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 5.2% in August but remains 13.4% lower than a year ago. The median home price in this region is 1.5% lower than it was in August 2009 at $155,000.

NAR President Vicki Golder Cox, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz., said consumers have been getting mixed signals about the housing market. “People understand the good affordability conditions with stable home prices in most areas, but they’re concerned about the economy and speculation on Wall Street,” she said. “We need to stick with the facts about the long-term value of homeownership and avoid unrealistic assessments. Tight credit and slow short sales are ongoing problems – expediting short sales will help the market to recover more quickly.”

National Association of Realtors

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Thursday, 25 April 2024

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