Existing-Home Sales Move Up in August

Existing-home sales rose in August following a big correction in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million in August from an upwardly revised 3.84 million in July, but remain 19.0 percent below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.

September 24, 2010

Existing-home sales rose in August following a big correction in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million in August from an upwardly revised 3.84 million in July, but remain 19.0 percent below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.43 percent in August from 4.56 percent in July; the rate was 5.19 percent in August 2009. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,600 in August, up 0.8 percent from a year ago. Distressed homes rose to 34 percent of sales in August from 32 percent in July; they were 31 percent in August 2009.

Total housing inventory at the end of August slipped 0.6 percent to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 11.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12.5-month supply in July. A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 31 percent of homes in August, down from 38 percent in July. Investors rose to a 21 percent market share in August from 19 percent in July; the balance of purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales slipped to 28 percent in August from 30 percent in July.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 in August from 470,000 in July, but are 17.1 percent below the 615,000-unit pace in August 2009. The median existing condo price5 was $174,000 in August, which is 2.8 percent below a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 7.9 percent to an annual level of 680,000 in August but are 24.4 percent below August 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $260,300, up 7.6 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 5.0 percent in August to a pace of 840,000 but are 26.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,600, up 0.4 percent from August 2009. In the South, existing-home sales rose 5.2 percent to an annual level of 1.62 million in August but are 13.4 percent below August 2009. The median price in the South was $155,000, down 1.5 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West jumped 13.8 percent to an annual pace of 990,000 in August but are 16.1 percent lower than August 2009. The median price in the West was $214,700, which is 2.5 percent below a year ago.

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