October 26 2010 (Chris Moore)
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said sales rose 10% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million, from a downwardly revised 4.12 million in August. Despite the sales increase, prices of existing homes slipped 2.4% to a median price of $171,700. Distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales, compared to 34% in August and 29% in Sept. 2009.
“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 Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR.
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 1.9 percent 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 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
Single-family home sales increased 10.0 percent 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 percent below the 4.93 million level in September 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $172,600 in September, down 1.9 percent from a year ago.
Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in September from 510,000 in August, but are 16.2 percent lower than the 668,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $165,400 in September, down 6.2 percent from September 2009.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.1 percent to an annual pace of 760,000 in September but are 20.8 percent below September 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $239,200, which is 1.4 percent below a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest jumped 14.5 percent in September to a level of 950,000 but are 26.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, down 5.2 percent from September 2009.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 10.6 percent to an annual pace of 1.77 million in September but are 14.9 percent lower than September 2009. The median price in the South was $149,500, down 2.6 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West increased 5.0 percent to an annual level of 1.05 million in September but are 16.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $213,600, which is 4.9 percent lower than September 2009.