Tuesday, February 02, 2010

February Market Review

New and Resale Levels Fall

After a rising surge from September through November,
existing-home sales fell as expected in December after
first-time buyers rushed to complete sales before the
original November deadline for the tax credit. However,
prices rose from December 2008 and annual sales improved
in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes,
condominiums and co-ops – fell 16.7 percent to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate1 of 5.45 million units in December
from 6.54 million in November, but remain 15.0 percent above
the 4.74 million-unit level in December 2008.

For all of 2009 there were 5,156,000 existing-home sales,
which was 4.9 percent higher than the 4,913,000 transactions
recorded in 2008; it was the first annual sales gain since 2005.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there were no surprises
in the data. “It’s significant that home sales remain above
year-ago levels, but the market is going through a period of
swings driven by the tax credit,” he said. “We’ll likely have
another surge in the spring as home buyers take advantage of
the extended and expanded tax credit. By early summer the
overall market should benefit from more balanced inventory,
and sales are on track to rise again in 2010. However, the
job market remains a concern and could dampen the housing
recovery – job creation is key to a continued recovery in
the second half of the year.”

Sales of new one-family houses in December 2009 were at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000, according to
estimates released jointly January 27th by the U.S. Census
Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is 7.6 percent (±14.6%) below the revised November
rate of 370,000 and is 8.6 percent (±15.2%)* below the
December 2008 estimate of 374,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2009
was $221,300; the average sales price was $290,600. The
seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at
the end of December was 231,000. This represents a supply
of 8.1 months at the current sales rate.

An estimated 374,000 new homes were sold in 2009. This is
22.9 percent (±2.9%) below the 2008 figure of 485,000.

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