Existing home sales jump 10%

Real estate agents were busy in October, when sales of existing homes jumped 10.1 percent from the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing home sales were up 23.5 percent from a year earlier and sales activity was at the highest pace since February 2007, NAR says.

“Many buyers have been rushing to beat the deadline for the first time buyer tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of this month, and similarly robust sales may be occurring in November,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “With such a sale spike, a measurable decline should be anticipated in December and early net year before another surge in spring and early summer.”

The $8,000 first time buyer tax credit has been extended until April 30. It has also been expanded to include many buyers who are not buying their first home, with a credit of as much as $6,500, depending on income.

Low interest rates are also fueling the rise in sales. Last week, Freddie Mac reported 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average of 4.83 percent, near an all-time low.

October single-family home sales in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 10.59 percent from Sept. and increased 43.05 percent compared to Oct. 2008, according to the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.

GAAR also reported that Oct. 2009 was the second highest sales month of the year and the third highest sales month since Sept. 2007. Pending sales for single-family homes in the Greater Albuquerque market areas rose 56.52 percent when compared to Oct. 2008.

In the U.S., total housing inventory at the end of October fell 3.7 percent, to a 7 month supply, down from an 8 month supply in September. Unsold homes on the market are now down 14.9 percent from a year ago, to the lowest level in two and a half years.

Monday, November 23, 2009, 10:03am MST

New Mexico Business Weekly
Jeff Clabaugh of the Washington Business Journal, an affiliated publication, compiled this report.