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ECON: Existing Home Sales Rise Slightly Less Than Expected
Posted to: Micro News
Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:07 AM
- EHS 4.98 mln Annual Rate
- Highest Since November 2009
- But missed consensus of 5.00 mln
- Inventory at 4.7 Months based on current pace
- 25 pct distressed vs 23 pct previously
February existing-home sales and prices affirm a healthy recovery is underway in the housing sector, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales have been above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, while prices show 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in January, and are 10.2 percent above the 4.52 million-unit level seen in February 2012. February sales were at the highest level since the tax credit period of November 2009.
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said conditions for continued housing improvement are at play. "Job growth in the improving economy and pent-up demand are causing both home sales and rental leasing to rise. Though home prices are rising much faster than rents, historically low mortgage rates are still making home purchases affordable," he said. "The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive."
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