Home Sales See Nearly 20 Percent Year Over Year Jump – NMP Skip to main content

Home Sales See Nearly 20 Percent Year Over Year Jump

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Sep 21, 2011

According to the National Association of Relators (NAR), existing home sales increased in the month August, despite natioinwide issues with tight credit and appraisal problems, along with regional disruptions created by Hurricane Irene, as monthly gains were seen in all regions. Total existing-home sales, defined by NAR as completed transactions including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million in August from an upwardly revised 4.67 million in July, and are 18.6 percent higher than the 4.24 million unit level in August 2010. “Some of the improvement in August may result from sales that were delayed in preceding months, but favorable affordability conditions and rising rents are underlying motivations,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Investors were more active in absorbing foreclosed properties. In additional to bargain hunting, some investors are in the market to hedge against higher inflation.” Investors accounted for 22 percent of purchase activity in August, up from 18 percent in July and 21 percent in August 2010. First-time homebuyers purchased 32 percent of homes in August, unchanged from July; they were 31 percent in August 2010. All-cash sales accounted for 29 percent of August's transactions, unchanged from July, and there were 28 percent of all-cash purchases made in August 2010. Investors account for the bulk of cash purchases. “We had some disruptions from Hurricane Irene in the closing weekend of August, when many sales normally are finalized, along the Eastern seaboard and in New England,” Yun said. “As a result, the Northeast saw the smallest sales gain in August, and some general impact is expected in September with widespread flooding from Tropical Storm Lee. Aberrations in housing data are possible over the next couple months as markets recover from disrupted closings and storm damage.” According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.27 percent in August, down from 4.55 percent in July; the rate was 4.43 percent in August 2010. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed rate fell to a record low of 4.09 percent. “All year, the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income has been hovering at historic highs, meaning the best housing affordability conditions in a generation,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “The biggest factors keeping home sales from a healthy recovery are mortgages being denied to creditworthy buyers, and appraised valuations below the negotiated price. Buyers may be able to find more favorable credit terms with community and small regional banks, and Realtors can often give buyers advice to help them overcome some of the financing obstacles." Contract failures—cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price—were reported by 18 percent of NAR members in August, up from 16 percent July and nine percent in August 2010. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,300 in August, which is 5.1 percent below August 2010. Distressed homes accounted for 31 percent of sales in August, compared with 29 percent in July and 34 percent in August 2010. Total housing inventory at the end of August fell three percent to 3.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in July. Single-family home sales rose 8.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in August from 4.12 million in July, and are 20.2 percent above the 3.72 million pace in August 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $168,400 in August, which is 5.4 percent below a year ago. Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.8 percent a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 in August from 550,000 in July, and are 8.3 percent higher than the 517,000-unit level one year ago. The median existing condo price was $167,500 in August, down 3.3 percent from August 2010. Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 2.7 percent to an annual pace of 770,000 in August and are 10.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $244,100, which is 5.1 percent below August 2010. Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 3.8 percent in August to a level of 1.09 million and are 26.7 percent above August 2010. The median price in the Midwest was $141,700, down 3.5 percent from a year ago. In the South, existing-home sales increased 5.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.94 million in August and are 16.9 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $151,000, which is 0.8 percent below August 2010. Existing-home sales in the West jumped 18.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.23 million in August and are 20.6 percent higher than August 2010. The median price in the West was $189,400, down 13 percent from a year ago.
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