Sales of existing homes rose in September, but prices continued to drop, according to the latest reading on the battered housing market by an industry trade group released Friday.Drop prices, sell houses.
The National Association of Realtors reported that sales by homeowners jumped in September to an annual pace of 5.18 million, up 1.4% from a year ago. It was the first time that sales rose compared to a year earlier since November 2005.
September sales were up 5% from the August reading of 4.91 million, marking the largest month-to-month increase since July 2003. ...
Though the numbers were encouraging, they do not yet suggest the problems in the housing market are behind us. September's numbers represent contracts signed in July or August — before the mid-September credit crunch tightened the stranglehold on lending and sent confidence in the economy crashing. Sales figures for October and November are likely to reflect this credit freeze. ...
Finally, experts say that foreclosed properties are driving this sales jump.
"Compared to a fairly small share of foreclosures or short sales a year ago, distressed sales are currently 35% to 40% of transactions," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with NAR. "These are pulling the median price down because many are being sold at discounted prices."
So it's unlikely that the worst is over.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Housing sales up year-over-year; prices down