Second Quarter State Existing-Home Sales Soften
|August 15, 2006|
Existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, were down in the second quarter in contrast with a record set in the same period in 2005. Despite the overall decline, 20 states showed increases in sales activity from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The quarterly report on total state existing-home sales shows that the seasonally adjusted annual rate* was 6.69 million units in the second quarter, down 7.0 percent from the record 7.19 million-unit level in the second quarter of 2005.
The biggest increase was in Alaska, where existing-home sales rose 48.6 percent from the second quarter of 2005. In Arkansas the second-quarter resale pace rose 17.9 percent from a year earlier, while Texas experienced the third strongest gain, up 11.3 percent. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia experienced declines. Complete data for two states was not available.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said two sets of market conditions are apparent in the report. “When you look at states with high housing costs or that have experienced a prolonged period of rapid price gains, you typically see slower home sales,” he said. “By contrast, states with moderately priced areas that have experienced healthy job creation are seeing sales gains – the economic backdrop remains favorable for the housing market, which is helping home sales to level out.”
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage was 6.60 percent in the second quarter, up from 6.24 percent in the first quarter; it was 5.72 percent in the second quarter of 2005.
NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said interest rates have been trending down in recent weeks. “This is good news for buyers who have been on the sidelines; now there is a window of opportunity in the market,” said Stevens, senior vice president of NRT Inc. “In most of the country, buyers can take their time to make an informed decision. We advise buyers to consult a professional in negotiating the buying process, and to cautiously review mortgage options – especially on non-traditional loan products.”
Last week, Freddie Mac, reported that the 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage was down to 6.55 percent.
Regionally, the South reported an existing-home sales pace of 2.60 million units in the second quarter, down 4.2 percent from a year ago. After Arkansas and Texas, the next strongest increase in the South was in North Carolina, up 11.0 percent from the second quarter of 2005, while resales in South Carolina rose 9.0 percent; six other Southern states also posted sales gains.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 4.7 percent to a 1.54 million-unit annual sales level from the second quarter of 2005. The strongest increase in the region was in Indiana, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, followed by Iowa, up 3.8 percent, and Missouri, with an increase of 0.8 percent.
The Northeast saw an existing-home sales pace of 1.15 million units in the second quarter, which was 5.2 percent below a year earlier. Sales activity in Vermont rose 9.1 percent from the second quarter of 2005, while Maine increased 1.5 percent.
In the West, the existing-home sales level of 1.41 million units was 14.7 percent lower than the second quarter of 2005. After Alaska, the best performance the region was in New Mexico where existing-home sales rose 6.2 percent from a year earlier; Wyoming sales increased 5.7 percent while Montana rose 5.2 percent.
Source: The National Association of Realtors