Existing home sales rose again in September, pointing to signs that a sales recovery may have begun, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales jumped 10 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million in September from a downwardly revised 4.12 million in August. The figure remained 19.1 percent below the 5.60 million-unit pace set in September 2009.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing market is in the early stages of recovery. “A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” he said.
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.35 percent in September from 4.43 percent in August; the rate was 5.06 percent in September 2009.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $171,700 in September, which is 2.4 percent below a year ago. Distressed homes accounted for 35 percent of sales in September compared with 34 percent in August; they were 29 percent in September 2009.
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 1.9 percent to 4.04 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12-month supply in August.
A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes in September, almost unchanged from 31 percent in August. Investors were at an 18 percent market share in September, down from 21 percent in August; the balance of purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 29 percent in September compared with 28 percent in August.
Single-family home sales increased 10 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.97 million in September from a pace of 3.61 million in August. The median existing single-family home price was $172,600 in September.
Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in September from 510,000 in August. The median existing condo price was $165,400 in September.
Existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.1 percent to an annual pace of 760,000 in September; the median price was $239,200. In the Midwest they jumped 14.5 percent in September to a level of 950,000; the median price was $139,700. In the South, existing-home sales rose 10.6 percent to an annual pace of 1.77 million in September; the median price was $149,500. Existing-home sales in the West increased 5 percent to an annual level of 1.05 million in September; the median price was $213,600.
NAR: 'Housing recovery is taking place'
October 25, 2010