Entries in Home Sales (24)


Home Sales Jumped to Five-Year High in 2012

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Home sales slipped by 1 percent in December to a pace of 4.94 million, according to the latest figures released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors.  But despite the drop, numbers for all of last year were strong, marking yet another sign that the housing market is rebounding.

"Total sales in 2012 were the highest in five years, while the annual median price rose the most since 2005," Walter Molony with the National Association of Realtors tells ABC News Radio.

He says sales were spurred by record-low mortgage rates and steady hiring.

"People who were on the sidelines during the recession started entering the market early last year when their financial ability and confidence grew and job creation will fuel more growth but it will be uneven month to month," Molony says.

However, he points outs, sales are still below levels that are considered healthy.

"Pent up demand is sustaining the market and record low mortgage rates are helping many buyers but tight inventory and restrictive mortgage standards are limiting sales," he says.

Molony adds, "Unless we see more construction activity, that's the biggest risk going forward.  Our concern is that if we don't have enough inventory, there could be excessive pressure on prices and that's something we want to avoid."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Existing Home Sales Jump in July

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The housing market is on a slow road to recovery.

Sales of existing homes climbed 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in July, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Home re-sales were also up more than 10 percent compared to a year ago. This was just slightly lower than economist expectations.

The number of first-time homebuyers rose to 34 percent of sales, up slightly from June. In a healthy market, first-time buyers make up about 40 percent of sales.

The median price of existing homes climbed 9.4 percent to $187,300 compared to a year ago.  This was the strongest year-over-year increase since January 2006.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Home Sales and Goods Orders Most Likely Increased in July 

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – Economists said ahead of reports this week that home sales and durable goods orders most likely increased in July, indicating that the country is beginning to strengthen after a slowdown in the second quarter, Bloomberg News reports.

The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey showed that combined purchases of new and existing houses rose from a 4.72 million annual rate in June to a 4.89 million annual rate in July. Another report may show that bookings for long-lasting goods climbed the most this year, the news agency says.

Less expensive properties and record-low mortgage costs are bolstering a sagging real estate industry that helped trigger the national recession, according to Bloomberg.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio



Home Prices Rise for Second Straight Month

Phillip Spears/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Home prices have increased for the second consecutive month, according to the latest Standard and Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Average monthly home prices increased 2.2 percent in May for the index’s 10- and 20-city composites.

“We have observed two consecutive months of increasing home prices and overall improvements in monthly and annual returns,” David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.  “However, we need to remember that spring and early summer are seasonally strong buying months so this trend must continue throughout the summer and into the fall.”

The 10- and 20-city composites had annual rates of decline of one percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, compared with May 2011.  Only three cities (Boston, Charlotte and Detroit) had annual returns worsen in May.

“While still negative, these annual changes are the best we’ve since in at least 18 months,” Blitzer said.

Zillow’s chief economist, Stan Humphries, said May was “a good month” for housing with existing home sales almost 10 percent higher than year-ago levels, supply shortages in some markets and a declining mix of foreclosure resales that affect the Case-Shiller index.

“Moreover, all of the data that has come out in the two months since May indicates that the housing market is continuing to slowly heal,” Humphries said.

Although he expects the index will show monthly declines in the latter half of the year, Humphries said that was “a function of seasonality” of a rising share of foreclosures in overall sales, which decline in the fall and winter.

“Overall, we remain cautiously optimistic that home values are at a bottom nationally,” he said, “even while our expectations for price appreciation in the next couple of years are muted.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Existing Home Sales Drop 1.5% in May

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In yet another sign that the housing market is still struggling, existing home sales dropped last month by 1.5 percent, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.

Sales were down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million units in May, compared to 4.62 million in April.

The decline is attributed to "limited supplies of housing inventories, especially at the lower end," says Walter Maloney, a spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors.

But it's not all bad news, as Maloney points out.

"Even with the decline the market has moved notably higher, with 11 months of consecutive gains over the same month a year ago," he says.  Existing home sales last month were 9.6 percent higher than in May 2011.

And, he notes, the outlook for the housing recovery is still positive.

"Given the underlying fundamentals, existing sales this year should rise 9 to 10 percent, the national median price is projected to increase 2 to 3 percent, and we're looking for more improvements in both sales and prices in 2013," Maloney says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Home Sales Jump 3.4% in April

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The long-suffering housing market is showing new signs of life, with Americans buying more previously owned homes in April.  The report is another hopeful sign the housing market is at long last improving.

“Prices rose strongly. The improvement in sales and prices is broad-based across all regions,” said Walter Maloney of the National Association of Realtors.  The realtors survey found that home sales rose 3.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million.

“Consumer confidence is up with more job creation — it’s less than we’d like but nonetheless, steady job creation is creating demand, rents are rising, that’s giving some incentive to buyers who’ve been on the sidelines of the rental market,” Maloney told ABC News.

Total sales are well below the nearly 6 million per year sales considered normal for a healthy housing market.

“The thing that is working against the market is the abnormally tight credit conditions: that is a headwind,” says Maloney.  In other words, it’s tougher for people to qualify for loans to take advantage of the record-low interest rates.

Distressed homes accounted for a smaller percentage of overall sales in April.

Another plus: “First-time homebuyers are slowly making their way back,” said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.

“That is still below the 40 percent-to-45 percent range during healthy times, but the highest in almost half a year.”

Builders have grown more confident since last fall, in part because more people have expressed an interest in buying a home.

Shares in PulteGroup, KB Home and other big homebuilding firms rallied today on the stock market.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No End in Sight for US Housing Slump

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The housing slump is far from over.

Average home prices have tumbled to their lowest level in nearly a decade, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index.

A separate report from the Commerce Department says new home sales fell last month by the largest amount in more than a year.  The total fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000 units.  That followed a 7.3 percent increase in February.

The numbers from both reports show the housing market remains under strain.

"My take is that things are improving year over year in the housing market in general but we have a very long and bumpy road to recovery," says Doug Lebda, CEO of the home loan site

The S&P/Case-Shiller index shows that prices fell in February from January in 16 of the 20 cities it follows.

Miami, San Diego and Phoenix were the bright spots in the report -- they were among the hardest hit cities in the housing crisis and showed price gains compared to a month ago.

Atlanta showed the weakest housing market; home prices in the city are down 17.3 percent compared to a year ago.  Chicago at 6.9 percent and Cleveland at 4.4 percent also saw steep declines.

Further, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa, Fla., posted new all-time lows, according to the index.

Average home prices across the United States are back to the levels they were in late 2002, according to S&P’s 20-City Composite Index.

New home sales numbers were revised higher for February, which is why the March drop in the government report was so large.

"What we have really is for the first quarter of the year a reasonably small but solid increase in home sales over the fourth quarter of last year," says David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Homebuilders.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pending Home Sales Rise to Highest Level in Two Years

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Pending home sales rose by two percent last month to the highest level in nearly two years, according to a report out Monday from the National Association of Realtors.

“This is a good number,” economist Hugh Johnson said Monday. “It was a little bit better than expected.”

“It pretty much indicates that activity in the housing market -- let's not say it's picking up -- that might be too strong a word, but certainly [it’s] bumping along the bottom.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Foreclosure Sales Dip Slightly in 3rd Quarter of 2011; Still High

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(IRVINE, Calif.) -- The percentage of U.S. sales that involved residential homes in some stage of foreclosure dropped in the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest report by RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure tracking firm said Thursday that foreclosure sales fell by 2 percent from the second quarter, from 22 percent to 20 percent.  Compared to the third quarter of 2010, when they accounted for 30 percent of all sales, foreclosure sales were also down.

More than 221,000 homes nationwide were found to be in some stage of foreclosure during the third quarter of last year.  And while that number was down 11 percent from the second quarter and down five percent from the third quarter of 2010, foreclosure sales are still accounting for a large share of the market.

"That 221,000 represents 20 percent of all sales. And so, that's a high level.  In a normal, healthy market we would expect to see 5 percent of all sales be foreclosure-related," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Western states were among the worst hit.

"The top three states in terms of percent of market-share that were foreclosure sales were, number one: Nevada, with 57 percent of all sales there were foreclosure-related.  Number two is California, with 44 percent of all sales being foreclosure-related.  And number three was Arizona, with 43 percent," he said.

But in what may be a promising sign, the average sales price of homes in foreclosure or bank-owned in the third quarter -- $165,322 -- was up 1 percent from the previous quarter.

"That is an indication that we may be getting close to a bottom, in terms of home prices with these foreclosures, which are the properties that are kind of  dragging down the rest of the housing market," Blomquist said.

It is worth noting, however, that the average sales price was down 3 percent from the same time period in 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Home Sales Up 1.6% Last Month

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sales of new homes across the country reached a seven-month high in November, mainly due to bumps in new home purchases in the South and Midwest.

In November, the U.S. Commerce Department says sales of new homes increased by 1.6 percent -- and though Americans bought more homes last month, it wasn't nearly enough to offset a rough year.

Weiss Research real estate analyst Mike Larson says things are headed in the right direction -- just a bit slower than many people would like.

“2011 certainly isn't going to go down as a great year for housing,” Larson said. But, “it's less bad than we've seen in the past couple of years,” he said.

Larson said he’s encouraged by the fact that, “we're not in a free-fall situation. We're just sort of stabilizing,” he said.

“Housing can probably maintain these levels, but I don't think we're going to see any dramatic improvement, just sort of a stabilization after a long period where housing's been kind of wandering in the wilderness, looking for a recovery,” Larson explained.

“The real question is whether that strength can sustain itself in 2012.”

The median price of a new home is $214,000, the cheapest in a year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio