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Existing-Home Sales Jump in September

Sales of existing homes rose 5.5 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million units from 4.91 million in August, NAR reported yesterday. Sales were up 1.4 percent from the 5.11 million-unit pace in September 2007, marking the first year-over-year increase since November 2005. The national median sale price for existing homes was $191,600, a 9.0 percent decline from $210,500 a year ago.

Total housing inventory fell 1.6 percent in September to 4.27 million. This represents a 9.9-month supply of available existing homes, down from the 10.6-month supply in August.

Existing-home sales in the West, Midwest and South rose month-over-month by 16.8 percent, 4.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, while sales in the Northeast fell 1.2 percent. Year-over-year sales increased in the West by 34.4 percent, but decreased in the Midwest, South and Northeast by 2.5 percent, 7.8 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says, “Compared to a fairly small share of foreclosures or short sales a year ago, distressed sales are currently 35 to 40 percent of transactions. These are pulling the median price down because many are being sold at discounted prices.”

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