Home Sales: Rise Reflects Steady Improvement

Home Sales
By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans bought more homes in July than in June, the latest evidence that the housing market is slowly, but steadily, improving.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in July, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous month's rate, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

The industry's recovery has grown more consistent, though it remains sluggish and uneven. July sales were below the 4.6 million annual pace reached in April and May. And the annual sales pace is below the roughly 5.5 million that economists consider healthy.

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Still, sales have increased 10.4 percent compared with a year ago.

The sales increase last month was broad-based. Purchases rose for single-family homes and condominiums. And sales rose in three of four U.S. regions. They were flat in the West.

"Rising single-family home sales indicate that households are feeling increasingly confident taking on larger purchases as their (finances) improve," Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank (DB), said in a note to clients.

The sales gains are being driven in part by higher-priced homes. Luxury home builder Toll Brothers (TOL) said Wednesday that its net income jumped 46 percent in the May-July quarter.

"We are enjoying the most sustained demand we've experienced in over five years," CEO Douglas Yearley said.

The Realtors' report said the median home price dipped in July from June to $187,300. Still, that's up 9.4 percent from a year ago. It's the fifth straight month in which the median price, as measured year over year, has risen.

A big reason for the price increase is that sales for pricier homes have picked up, while sales of homes below $100,000 have fallen, the Realtors' group said.

The number of first-time homebuyers, critical to a housing rebound, rose to 34 percent of sales, up slightly from June. In a healthy market, first-time buyers make up about 40 percent of sales.

Purchases are being restrained by low levels of homes available for sale and by tight credit standards, the Realtors' group said.

Other recent reports have contributed to the picture of a healing industry. Home prices are rising nationwide. And builders are growing increasingly confident because they're seeing more traffic from potential buyers. An index of builder confidence rose to its highest level in five years in August.

Builders responded by applying for the largest number of building permits in nearly four years last month. They broke ground on slightly fewer new homes in July than in June. But that was after the number of housing starts had reached a 3½-year high in June.

In July, the number of unsold homes ticked up to 2.4 million. It would take about 6.4 months to exhaust that supply at the current sales pace. That's just above the six months' inventory that typically exists in a healthy economy.

Even with near-record-low mortgage rates, many would-be buyers are having difficulty qualifying for loans or can't afford the larger down payments being required by banks.

Hiring picked up a bit in July, which could support more home sales in the coming months. Job growth helps consumers feel more secure about their finances and typically encourages more of them to buy a house.

Employers added 163,000 jobs last month, the most since February. Job gains had averaged only 73,000 in the April-June quarters, raising fears that the economy was faltering and might even slip into recession.




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Mike

Baloney!! How many foreclosed houses are on top of their unsold number? The prices are still well below what they were 3-4 years ago. Many short sells are included in the sales numbers. Just like the unemployment numbers--pure baloney with the election right around the corner. I know FOR A FACT that no houses are selling around this area.

August 23 2012 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Baloney!! How many foreclosed houses are on top of their unsold number? The prices are still well below what they were 3-4 years ago. Many short sells are included in the sales numbers. Just like the unemployment numbers--pure baloney with the election right around the corner. I know FOR A FACT that no houses are selling around this area.

August 23 2012 at 2:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
krazzicraig

There is a home inmy neighborhood that has been empty for 4 yrs . There is an outstanding mortgage of appox. $600,000.00. In todays market the house has a value of about $400,000. I have asked BoA several times if the house is for sale . They claim theydo not own the home . They then ask if I would interested in purchasing it. Answer ,yes . They have turned down my offer 3 times . After a lot of phone calls and reseach , I learned the house was owned by Mellon/ Bank of New York .Mellon has no offices in my area ,that is why BoF is dealing with it. In short the bank believes holding the home that some point it will gain in value . They are not willing to sell it for market value . One would think after 4 yrs the bank would of had enough .All I can think is the bank is not prepared to eat $250K .To this day they have not come back with a counter offer .

August 23 2012 at 12:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to krazzicraig's comment
theycallmeroy3

Did you write a contract? And did they counter?

August 23 2012 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to theycallmeroy3's comment
theycallmeroy3

Oh, sorry, they didn't counter. But you did write a contract?

August 23 2012 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
theycallmeroy3

Sorry, read the end. So they didn't counter. Strange.

August 23 2012 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
krazzicraig

There is a home inmy neighborhood that has been empty for 4 yrs . There is an outstanding mortgage of appox. $600,000.00. In todays market the house has a value of about $400,000. I have asked BoA several times if the house is for sale . They claim theydo not own the home . They then ask if I would interested in purchasing it. Answer ,yes . They have turned down my offer 3 times . After a lot of phone calls and reseach , I learned the house was owned by Mellon/ Bank of New York .Mellon has no offices in my area ,that is why BoF is dealing with it. In short the bank believes holding the home that some point it will gain in value . They are not willing to sell it for market value . One would think after 4 yrs the bank would of had enough .All I can think is the bank is not prepared to eat $250K .To this day they have not come back with a counter offer .

August 23 2012 at 12:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
krazzicraig

There is a home inmy neighborhood that has been empty for 4 yrs . There is an outstanding mortgage of appox. $600,000.00. In todays market the house has a value of about $400,000. I have asked BoA several times if the house is for sale . They claim theydo not own the home . They then ask if I would interested in purchasing it. Answer ,yes . They have turned down my offer 3 times . After a lot of phone calls and reseach , I learned the house was owned by Mellon/ Bank of New York .Mellon has no offices in my area ,that is why BoF is dealing with it. In short the bank believes holding the home that some point it will gain in value . They are not willing to sell it for market value . One would think after 4 yrs the bank would of had enough .All I can think is the bank is not prepared to eat $250K .To this day they have not come back with a counter offer .

August 23 2012 at 12:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
krazzicraig

There is a home inmy neighborhood that has been empty for 4 yrs . There is an outstanding mortgage of appox. $600,000.00. In todays market the house has a value of about $400,000. I have asked BoA several times if the house is for sale . They claim theydo not own the home . They then ask if I would interested in purchasing it. Answer ,yes . They have turned down my offer 3 times . After a lot of phone calls and reseach , I learned the house was owned by Mellon/ Bank of New York .Mellon has no offices in my area ,that is why BoF is dealing with it. In short the bank believes holding the home that some point it will gain in value . They are not willing to sell it for market value . One would think after 4 yrs the bank would of had enough .All I can think is the bank is not prepared to eat $250K .To this day they have not come back with a counter offer .

August 23 2012 at 12:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
avalos745

I’m looking to buy a home but am waiting till January,
Have a strong feeling prices will drop another 20% in 2013.. any suggestions?

Help..

August 23 2012 at 11:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to avalos745's comment
theycallmeroy3

Going on limited information here. Only you know the area you want to buy in. Are you an all cash buyer? Owned before? Don't focus on drop, focus on keeping yourself eligible for low interest mortgage loan approval, if you're not an all cash buyer.
And if a mortgage loan is in your plans, plan to stay at least five years in your home. How exciting for you.

August 23 2012 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
avalos745

I’m looking to buy a home but am waiting till January,
Have a strong feeling prices will drop another 20% in 2013.. any suggestions?

Help..

August 23 2012 at 11:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
A.G. SESKIS

Really ,..based on what standards to these clowns get their INFO from ??? !!!
I work for a MAJOR railroad,...and I DONT see any increase in lumber shipments,...as any one with an intelligent mind would know,..if even the railroads are STILL laying people off,..just shows the " volume " isnt there to support the BS they are talking about !!!!
Since the Great Depression of `08,...volume is WAY down in everything,...and even the great " commodities " still havent picked up since `08,....and since the " railroads " are the BIGGEST supplier of well ,......EVERYTHING " ,..and since they are STILL laying off employees,....just tells me,...that ALL these media / analysts / economic brainiacs/ etc. etc. ...DONT have the 1st damn clue what the hell they are talking about !!!!
You CANNOT just look at computer screens to see what is happening in the REAL World.
These idiots in Wall St. / D.C. DONT have the 1st clue of what is REALLY going on in the REAL World !!
MY ADVICE ,..to the WORLD,....is to hang on to your MONEY ,....DONT spend more than you can afford,...live within your means,..dont be stupid,..and listen to the media,...becuase they DONT KNOW CRAP !!

August 23 2012 at 6:32 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
A.G. SESKIS

Really ,..based on what standards to these clowns get their INFO from ??? !!!
I work for a MAJOR railroad,...and I DONT see any increase in lumber shipments,...as any one with an intelligent mind would know,..if even the railroads are STILL laying people off,..just shows the " volume " isnt there to support the BS they are talking about !!!!
Since the Great Depression of `08,...volume is WAY down in everything,...and even the great " commodities " still havent picked up since `08,....and since the " railroads " are the BIGGEST supplier of well ,......EVERYTHING " ,..and since they are STILL laying off employees,....just tells me,...that ALL these media / analysts / economic brainiacs/ etc. etc. ...DONT have the 1st damn clue what the hell they are talking about !!!!
You CANNOT just look at computer screens to see what is happening in the REAL World.
These idiots in Wall St. / D.C. DONT have the 1st clue of what is REALLY going on in the REAL World !!
MY ADVICE ,..to the WORLD,....is to hang on to your MONEY ,....DONT spend more than you can afford,...live within your means,..dont be stupid,..and listen to the media,...becuase they DONT KNOW CRAP !!

August 23 2012 at 6:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply