NAR's latest report on sales of previously owned single-family homes, condominiums and co-operatives showed that total sales rose by double-digit rates in 14 states in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2002. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia reported generally modest declines in the annual rate of sales activity from a year ago.
Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of total existing home sales reached a record of 6.68 million units in the first quarter, up 2.2 percent from a pace of 6.54 million units in the first quarter of 2002. The previous record was a rate of 6.59 million units in the fourth quarter of 2002; NAR started tracking the total state resale series in 1981.
The strongest year-to-year increase was in Nevada, where the first quarter resale pace jumped 28.5 percent compared with the first quarter of 2002. Hawaii rose 28.2 percent from a year ago, while South Dakota posted the third highest increase, up 20.1 percent from last year's first quarter rate.
Regionally, the South experienced the highest increase in existing-home sales with rate of 2.73 million units in the first quarter, up 5.0 percent from a year ago. The strongest increase in the region was in Tennessee, where the resale pace was 15.5 percent higher than a year earlier.
Delaware sales activity rose 15.1 percent, while South Carolina was up 10.5 percent in the same time frame. The Midwest, with a 1.36 million-unit annual rate, recorded a 1.0 percent increase in existing-home sales for the first quarter compared with a year earlier. After South Dakota, the strongest increase in the region was in Missouri where sales activity rose 19.1 percent from the first quarter of 2002. This was followed by Kansas, where the sales pace rose 15.9 percent, and Nebraska, up 10.3 percent from a year earlier.
The West posted an annual resale rate of 1.77 million units during the first quarter of 2003, up 0.6 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. After Nevada and Hawaii, the next highest increase in the region was in Utah, where existing-home sales rose 18.9 percent from a year ago. Arizona resales were up 16.8 percent, while New Mexico's sales pace increased 15.4 percent from the first quarter of 2002. Montana and Alaska also posted double-digit gains.
In the Northeast, the total existing-home sales pace of 817,000 units in the first quarter dipped 1.8 percent from a year ago. The strongest rise in the region was in Pennsylvania, where resales rose 1.5 percent from the first quarter of 2002. New Jersey sales activity increased 1.0 percent in the last year.