Existing U.S. home sales increased 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.91 million units in February following 5 months of decline. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the increase indicates the housing market is stabilizing.
The increase follows an upwardly revised pace of 6.57 million in January, but is 0.3 percent below a 6.93 million-unit level in February 2005.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said mild weather appears to be responsible for some of the gain. "Weather conditions across much of the country were unseasonably mild in January and likely were a factor in higher levels of buyer activity, which boosted sales that closed in February," he said.
"Higher interest rates had been tapping the brakes, notably in higher-cost housing markets since mortgage interest rates trended up last fall, but we’re seeing signs of stabilization in the market now with the sales rebound. Home sales should level-out in the months ahead," Lereah said.
Single-family home sales increased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.06 million in February from 5.79 million in January, and were 0.2 percent below the 6.07 million-unit pace in February 2005.
Existing condominium and cooperative housing sales rose 8.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 850,000 units in February from a level of 781,000 in January, and were 1.5 percent below the 863,000-unit pace a year ago.
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