Existing-home sales were up again in September, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Existing-home sales - completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops – were up 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million in September from a downwardly revised 4.12 million in August. Sales remain 19.1% below the 5.60 million-unit pace in September 2009.
NAR points out that, in September 2009 first-time buyers were making more home purchases in advance of the first deadline for the federal tax credit (in November 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," Yun said. "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."
Freddie Mac reported the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.35% in September from 4.43% in August; the rate was 5.06% in September 2009.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $171,700 in September, down 2.4% from a year ago.
Distressed homes accounted for 35% of sales in September compared with 34% in August; they were 29% in September 2009.
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 1.9% to 4.04 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12.0-month supply in August. Raw unsold inventory is 11.7% below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
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