From RealTrends.com: Existing-home sales bounced back strongly in September with first-time buyers driving much of the activity, marking five gains in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Existing-home sales-including single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops-jumped 9.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million units in September from a level of 5.10 million in August, and are 9.2 percent higher than the 5.10 million-unit pace in September 2008. Sales activity is at the highest level in more than two years, since it hit 5.73 million in July 2007.
Early information from a large annual consumer study to be released on Nov. 13, the 2009 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, shows that first-time home buyers accounted for more than 45 percent of home sales during the past year. A separate practitioner survey shows that distressed homes accounted for 29 percent of transactions in September.
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 7.5 percent to 3.63 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 7.8-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 9.3-month supply in August. Unsold inventory totals are 15.0 percent below a year ago.
Here’s the region-by-region picture:
· Northeast: Existing-home sales increased 4.4 percent to an annual level of 950,000 in September, and are 11.8 percent higher than September 2008. The median price was $234,700, down 7.0 percent from a year ago.
· Midwest: Existing-home sales jumped 9.6 percent in September to a pace of 1.25 million and are 7.8 percent above a year ago. The median price was $147,600, which is 1.0 percent below September 2008.
· South: Existing-home sales rose 9.0 percent to an annual level of 2.06 million in September and are 10.8 percent higher than September 2008. The median price was $153,500, down 7.6 percent from a year ago.
· West: Existing-home sales surged 13.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.30 million in September and are 5.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $219,000, which is 15.0 percent below September 2008.
Source: National Association of Realtors®
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