Thursday, June 4, 2009

Existing- and Pending-Home Sales Rise in April, Affordability Also Up

Existing-home sales rose 2.9 percent in April with strong buyer activity in the lower price ranges, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In the Northeast, existing-home sales jumped 11.6 percent.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said first-time buyers continue to influence the market, but there is also a seasonal rise in repeat buyers. In addition, a NAR practitioner survey in April showed that the number of buyers looking at homes has increased 14 percentage points from a year ago.
In more good news from NAR, low mortgage rates boosted pending-home sales for the third consecutive month. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in April, rose 6.7 percent from March, and is 3.2 percent above April 2008. What's more, the Pending Home Sales Index in the Northeast increased a huge 32.6 percent.
To round out the positive statistics, NAR's Housing Affordability Index rose in April to the second highest monthly reading on record after peaking in January of this year.
According to Yun, "Housing affordability conditions have been at historic highs, but now the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit is beginning to impact the market. Since first-time buyers must finalize their purchase by November 30 to get the credit, we expect greater activity in the months ahead, and that should spark more sales by repeat buyers."
Smitha Ramchandani is a licensed real estate professional at Weichert Realtors' Morristown West, New Jersey office. She is a Certified Buyer Specialist and a Home Marketing Expert.. You can reach Smitha at: 973-953-7777 Mobile or 973-455-1900 Extension 122 (Office) or online at: or
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