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Existing-Home Sales Rose 10% in September




Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million in September. This is from a downwardly revised rate of 4.12 million in August. The sales remain 19.1% below September 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

“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,”  said NAR Chief economist, Lawrence Yun.

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% in August; the rate was 5.06% in September 2009.

The national median existing-home price was $171,700 in September, which is 2.4% below a year ago. Distressed homes accounted for 35% of sales in September compared with 34% in August; they were 29% in September 2009.

First-time buyers purchased 32% of homes in September, which is almost unchanged from 31% in August. Investors were at an 18% market share in September, down from 21% in August. All-cash sales were at 29% in September compared with 28% in August.

Existing-Home Sales by Housing Type

Single-family home sales increased 10.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.97 million in September from a pace of 3.61 million in August, but are 19.5% below the 4.93 million level in September 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $172,600 in September, down 1.9% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 9.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in September from 510,000 in August, but are 16.2% lower than the 668,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $165,400 in September, down 6.2% from September 2009.

Existing-Home Sales by Region

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.1% to an annual pace of 760,000 in September but are 20.8% below September 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $239,200, which is 1.4% below a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest jumped 14.5% in September to a level of 950,000 but are 26.4% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, down 5.2% from September 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 10.6% to an annual pace of 1.77 million in September but are 14.9% lower than September 2009. The median price in the South was $149,500, down 2.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 5.0% to an annual level of 1.05 million in September but are 16.7% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $213,600, which is 4.9% lower than September 2009.

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