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Existing Home Sales Pick Up Steam, Northeast Leads

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After faltering in August, the pace of existing home sales picked up last month. Home sales in the Northeast saw the biggest percentage increase.

Existing sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million in September.

That
was an improvement over the previous month’s pace of home sales, when the seasonally adjusted annual rate was a downwardly revised 5.30 million.

The National Association of Realtors released the data Thursday.

The rate of existing home sales also improved compared to a year previous, when
it was 5.10 million. It was the 12th consecutive year-over-year rise.

“September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million),” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated in the report. “While current price growth around 6 percent is still roughly double the pace of wages, affordability has slightly improved since the spring and is helping to keep demand at a strong and sustained pace.”

The Northeast saw the biggest gain from August in existing-home sales: nine percent to an 0.760 million annual rate.

In the West, home sales climbed seven percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million. After that was a four percent rise to 2.21 million in the South and a two percent increase to 1.31 million in the Midwest.

On just single-family home sales, September 2015’s U.S. seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing home sales was 4.93 million.

At the end of last month, the total U.S. housing inventory was 2.21 million homes for sale, off three percent from a month earlier and a year earlier.

It took 49 days for homes to sell in September 2015, two days more than in the prior report but seven days fewer than in the year-earlier report.

The unsold-inventory fell to 4.8 months from 5.1 months in August.

The median sales price was $221,900, up six percent from September 2014 and the 43rd consecutive year-over-year rise.

First-time buyer share was 29 percent, retreating from the 2015-high of 32 percent in August but no different than the same month last year.

All-cash sales accounted for 24 percent of September 2015’s activity, and the distressed sales share was seven percent.

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