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2Q Survey Shows Rising Sales, Slowing Price Declines

Sales of existing homes rose 3.8 percent to 4.76 million units during the second quarter of 2009, up from 4.58 million units in the first quarter, but they were still 2.9 percent below the 4.90 million units sold in the second quarter of 2008, according to NAR’s latest quarterly survey of metro home sales. Nine states posted higher sales compared to a year ago and 39 states had increased sales from the first quarter.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says the sales gain appears to be sustainable. “With low interest rates, lower home prices and a first-time homebuyer tax credit, we’ve been seeing healthy increases in home sales, which are a hopeful sign for the economy,” Yun says.

The national median existing single-family price was $174,100, 15.6 percent below a year ago. During the second quarter, 129 out of 155 metro areas reported lower median home prices compared to the second quarter of 2008, while 26 areas showed price gains. Distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales, accounted for 36 percent of transactions in the second quarter, and first-time buyers accounted for one-third of all transactions.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 15.0 percent during the second quarter but were 8.4 percent below a year ago. The regional median home price was $246,000, down 9.7 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing home sales rose 3.2 percent to 1.06 million but were 5.3 percent below a year ago. The median sale price of an existing home in the region was $146,800, down 8.6 percent from the second quarter of 2008.

In the South, home sales increased 3.9 percent to 1.76 million, but were 7.2 percent lower than a year ago. The median home price was $158,600 in the second quarter, down 10.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 2.3 percent during the second quarter to 1.13 million, but were 11.8 percent above the second quarter of 2008. The median home price was $212,600, 26.6 percent below a year ago.

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