From the recent issue of the Nashville Business Journal…
First-time home buyers have helped drive up existing-home sales nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of existing homes jumped 9.4 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.57 million units. That’s up from 5.1 million in August.
Sales activity is at its highest level in more than two years, the association says. Lower prices, coupled with a first-time home-buyer credit, are behind the increase, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors association. “We are hopeful the tax credit will be extended, and possibly expanded, to more buyers, at least through the middle of next year, because the rising sales momentum needs to continue for a few additional quarters until we reach a point of a self-sustaining recovery,” he said. Still, Yun said, there needs to be a steady stream of qualified buyers to bring down inventories and create price stabilization.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 9 percent to an annual level of 2.06 million in September — 10.8 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $153,500, down 7.6 percent from a year ago. Nationwide, the median price for existing single-family homes was $174,900 in September, 8.1 percent lower than a year ago.