Home Resales Jump as Median Price Up 9% Over Year Ago: Realtors

Sales of existing homes jumped 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in August from 4.47 million in July – that’s a 9.3 percent rate than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $187,400 in August, up 9.5 percent from a year ago, as distressed homes have been making up a smaller slice of overall sales.
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. housing starts increased last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 units.
The housing-starts figure was lower than expected, but the overall trend in the housing market continues to bode positive, possibly outpacing other segments of the economic recovery.
The last time there were six back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier in existing home sales was from December 2005 to May 2006, the NAR said
The August increase was the strongest since January 2006 when the median price rose 10.2 percent from a year earlier.
Fewer foreclosures and short sales in the mix helped bolster home prices. Distressed homes sold at deep discounts accounted for 22 percent of August sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales); that’s down from 24 percent in July and 31 percent in August 2011.
Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 19 percent below market value in August, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.
“The housing market is steadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and median prices,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions,” he said.

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