According to the most recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing homes sales were up nationally in September from the month before. Sales in September came in at an annualized rate of 4.53 million, up from 4.12 in August. That equates to a 10% increase in purchases and a sign that nationwide sales are reacting to low prices and low interest rates.
The median sales price for existing homes in September was just under $172,000 for a 2.4% decrease from the month previous. Sales this September were still significantly lower than those from September 2009, mostly due to the fact that the Federal Housing Stimulus tax credits were available last September, with the initial expiration drawing near. That expiration date would later be extended.
Inventory of existing homes for sale also posted good news in conjunction with the increased number of sales. The number of existing homes for sale decreased 1.9% to 4.04 million residential units. This lowered the number of months of inventory available to 10.7 months at the current pace of sales. The month before, the number of months of inventory sat at 12, marking a significant improvement in September.
Sales that involved properties that were either foreclosed or available as a short sale accounted for 35% of all sales. These sales took place prior to the recent foreclosure moratorium initiated by a number of major banking institutions around concerns about their procedures. It remains to be seen how the foreclosure issues will be resolved and the overall impact on future existing home sales.