NAR reports mixed results for existing-home sales

Single-family existing-home sales were stable in October, while existing condo sales were down, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, were at 4.97 million units in October, down 1.2 percent from 5.03 million in September, and were down 20.7 percent from 6.27 million from September 2006.

Single-family home sales were unchanged from September, holding at a steady annual rate of 4.37 million in October, but are 20.8 percent below the 5.52 million-unit level in October of last year.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 9.1 percent from September’s 660,000 units down to 600,000 in October. Sales were down 20.2 percent below the 752,000-unit pace set in October 2006.

According to the NAR, the temporary mortgage problems peaked in August, while many October sales were being negotiated.

“Mortgage availability has improved as evidenced by much lower mortgage interest rates and a sharp jump in FHA endorsements for home purchases,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Regionally, the Northeast reported existing-home sales were unchanged at an annual pace of 900,000 in October, and are 12.6 percent below October 2006.

Sales in the South also were unchanged in October, at an annual rate of 2.03 million, but are 19.4 percent below a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales slipped 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million in October, and are 16.9 percent below October 2006.

The West showed existing-home sales fell 4.4 percent in October to a level of 870,000, and are 33.1 percent below a year ago.

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