Mortgages

Existing Home Sales Drop for First Time in Months

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Existing Home SalesExisting-home sales – completed transactions including single-family, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops – dropped 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in October, according to the latest monthly report from the National Association of Retailers. That’s down from 4.53 million in September, and 25.9 percent lower than the level of 5.98 million observed in October of last year. However, in the latter case, that was prior to the expiration of a tax credit for first-time buyers.

The report said so far this year, 4.15 million existing homes have been sold, down 2.9 percent from the 4.27 million to the same point in 2009.

“The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery, and a temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR. “Still, sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels. Based on current and improving job market conditions, and from attractive affordability conditions, sales should steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year.”

The national median price for an existing home was $170,500 in October, down 0.9 percent from the same month last year.

Many consumers may have trouble affording a new home as the economy has been recovering slowly, and unemployment rates remain near 10 percent nationwide.

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