REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Existing-Home Sales Hit 5-Month High
Existing-home sales rose in July to the highest level in five months, although they continue to be well below the numbers from last year at this time, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – increased 3.1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million units from a downwardly revised level of 4.85 million in June. Sales were 13.2 percent lower than the 5.76 million-unit pace in July 2007.
NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said the up-and-down pattern may break soon.
“We hope the new tools in the hands of home buyers from the recently enacted housing stimulus package will spark a sustained sales uptrend in the months ahead,” he said. “Buyers who’ve been on the sidelines should take a closer look at what’s available to them now in terms of financing and incentives. Given some of the inventory on the market, we also strongly encourage buyers to get a professional home inspection.”
Median Price Down 7.1% from Year Ago
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $212,400 in July, down 7.1 percent from a year ago when the median was $228,600.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home prices in some regions could soon increase.
“Sales have picked up significantly in several Florida and California markets. Home prices generally follow sales trends after a few months of lag time,” he said. “Still, inventory remains high in many parts of the country and will require time to fully absorb. We expect more balanced conditions in 2009 and will eventually return to normal long-term appreciation patterns.”
Analysis of NAR price data since 1968 shows home prices normally rise 1 to 2 percentage points above the overall rate of inflation, building wealth over the typical period of homeownership.