Good Afternoon, All!
Sometimes, it seems like the drumbeat of bad news in the housing market will never end. But, finally, some good news - two months in a row!
Data released today by the National Association of Realtors show existing home sales rose more than expected last month - the highest level of resales of existing homes since mid-2007.
In September, existing home sales rose to a projected annual 5.18 Million pace - a 5.5% increase over August.
Last month, the median national home price dropped 9.0% over this time last year. The current $191,600 median price is the lowest national median since April, 2004. One year ago, the median price across the U.S. was $210,500.
Said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, "Hopefully, this trend can continue."
Since the beginning of 2008, lenders have considerably strengthened lending standards on home mortgage loans. As a result of the new, higher standards, many potential borrowers with marginal credit have been unable to find a loan. Those with top credit and strong down payments are finding increased fees, interest rates, and loan requirements.
Wall Street expected an annualized resale figure of 4.97 Million homes last month, so the increase far surpasses their expectations. Some feel the drop in mortgage rates, after the Fed takeover of mortgage investors and guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last month, and the temporary drop in loan interest rates, may have attracted more buyers into the market. Over the last few weeks, due to the credit turmoil, rates have crept up considerably, now exceeding 6.5% in many areas.
Existing homes-for-sale inventory dropped 1.6% at the end of September, to 4.27 Million homes available for sale across the U.S. This represents a total supply, based on current Absorption Rate figures projected nationally, of 9.9 months. In August, higher home inventory created a 10.6 month supply of homes for sale.
September was the second consecutive month that homes-for-sale inventory dropped across the U.S.
Here in Chicago, median home and condo prices have fallen over 10% versus 2007 in many neighborhoods in the city and in surrounding suburbs. After several months of what we would call "blase indifference," qualified buyers and their agents have begun showing up at our listings once again.
Specific Chicago area figures to follow.
See our post via BlogChicagoHomes.com today for more info, with a link to Maya Jackson Randall's story in today's Wall Street Journal.
DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO