Existing home sales on the rise

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Existing home sales climbed for the second month in a row in September, fueling some hope that a housing recovery is underway.

Sales of previously owned homes rose 10% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million units last month, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. That was up from a 4.12 million rate in August.

The report came in much stronger than expectations. Economists had forecast sales to edge up to an annual rate of 4.25 million units, according to consensus estimates from Briefing. com.

The gains of the past two months were welcome news, after home sales sank 27% to their lowest level in 15 years in July. While some economists say a housing recovery is underway, a foreclosure moratorium in October may have a negative impact on next month's report.

"A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a release. "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."

While Tuesday's report offered a glimmer of hope for housing, home sales remained 22% below this year's peak in April, and 19% from a year earlier. The housing market peaked thanks to an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers, which has since expired.

But now, amid high unemployment and uncertainty about the economy, consumers just aren't ready to take the plunge into home ownership, like they were a year ago, said Leif Thomson, chief executive of Mortgage Master Inc., a privately owned lending firm.

"Despite having unbelievably great interest rates and low housing prices, the housing market is stuck in the mud right now," he said.

The inventory of homes on the market edged down 1.9% in September to 4.04 million units, but that number is still "unbelievably high," Thomson said.

About 35% of homes sold during the month were in foreclosure, the Realtors said.

The median price of homes sold in September was $171,700, down 2.4% from a year earlier, the report showed. To top of page

Just the hot list include
Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 27,076.82 -142.70 -0.52%
Nasdaq 8,153.54 -23.17 -0.28%
S&P 500 2,997.96 -9.43 -0.31%
Treasuries 1.84 -0.06 -3.26%
Data as of 12:29am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Advanced Micro Devic... 30.83 0.14 0.46%
Ford Motor Co 9.30 -0.15 -1.59%
AT&T Inc 37.31 -0.60 -1.58%
General Electric Co 9.38 0.04 0.43%
Bank of America Corp... 30.13 -0.04 -0.13%
Data as of Sep 16
Sponsors

Sections

Bankrupt toy retailer tells bankruptcy court it is looking at possibly reviving the Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us brands. More

Land O'Lakes CEO Beth Ford charts her career path, from her first job to becoming the first openly gay CEO at a Fortune 500 company in an interview with CNN's Boss Files. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.