At long last, a little good news from the real estate market: The National Association of Realtors reported a 10 percent rise in existing home sales in September, but buyers are still skittish about foreclosures and the country’s job problems figure into the long-term prognosis as well. —KA
September’s seasonally-adjusted reading showed 4.53 million existing home sales on an annual basis, up 10% from August’s tally of 4.12 million, but 19.1% below the 5.6 million sold in September 2009. The median price tag was $171,700, down 3.3% from a month ago and 2.4% from last year. Distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales in September.
“This is the biggest monthly gain in 28 years, even though we should be closer to 5 million [monthly home sales] given the rate of population growth,” says NAR spokesman Walter Molony. “Buyers are responding to low interest rates, but what hurts is the anemic pace of job growth,” he explains.