Good news out of the housing market: Sales of existing U.S. homes rose for the second month, showing strong gains in what the National Association of Realtors is calling a true “housing recovery.”
Existing-home sales rose 10.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million during Septmber, up from a downwardly revised 4.12 million in August. That new number is still down 19.1 percent, however, over September 2009 sales. The national median price which is now $171,700, was also down 2.4 percent from a year ago.
“A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
Another good sign is that total housing inventory fell, down 1.9 percent to 4.04 million units. At the current sales rate, that represents a 10.7-month supply, where there was a 12.0-month supply in August.
“Vacant homes and homes where mortgages have not been paid for an extended number of months need to be cleared from the market as quickly as possible, with a new set of buyers helping the recovery along a healthy path,” Yun said. “Inventory remains elevated and continues to favor buyers over sellers. A normal seasonal decline in inventory is expected through the upcoming months.”
In its press release the NAR also stressed how great the mortgage climate is right now with rock bottom rates and cheap monthly loan payments. Apparently September’s jump in sales proves that there are borrowers out there who are apply to qualify with today’s tighter lending standards. Or perhaps it represents a slight loosening of the standards. Either way, rising home sales can give a great boost to the mood in the markets, bringing a bit of much-needed hope for recovery.