Existing home sales and home prices showed strong annual gains
in April, with both posting 10 percent increases over their April
2011 levels, according to figures released today by the National
Association of Realtors (NAR).
It was the second consecutive monthly gain for home sales, with
broad-based increases across all regions of the country, leading
NAR officials to declare that a housing recovery is underway.
"It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of
high affordability conditions," said Lawrene Yun, NAR chief
economist. "A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping
home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to
be extending to home prices."
Prices show consecutively monthly gains
Existing home sales in April were at a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 4.62 million, a 3.4 percent increase from March and
up 10.0 percent from the 4.20 million level reported for April
Home sales prices in April were at a median of $177,400, up 10.1
percent from the $161,100 figure of 12 months before. It was the
second consecutively monthly gain for home sales, the first time
that's happened since June-July 2010.
Yun said prices were boosted by a diminished share of
foreclosure sales, as well as shortages of available properties for
sale in selected markets, such as the Washington, D.C. region. For
the year, the NAR is projecting home price increases of 1-2
percent, with stronger gains in 2013.
Distressed sales down markedly
Sales of distressed properties - both foreclosures and short
sales - accounted for 28 percent of all home sales in April, down
from 37 percent in April 2011. Foreclosures sold at an estimated 21
percent discount compared to regular sales last month, while the
discount on short sales averaged 14 percent.
Around the nation, the biggest annual gains in home sales were
in the Northeast and Midwest, where sales were up 19.2 percent and
14.4 percent compared to April 2011, respectively. The West and
South showed annual gains of 7.3 percent and 6.5 percent,
The biggest annual price gains were seen in the West, where
April's median sales price of 221,700 represented a 15.9 percent
increase over 12 months before. Median sales prices in the
Northeast showed an 8.8 percent annual gain, to $256,600; prices in
the South were up 8.0 percent, to $153,400; and home sales prices
in the Midwest were up 7.4 percent from their April 2011 level, to
a median of $141,400.
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