US homes sell at strongest pace since ’07

WASHINGTON – Americans snapped up houses in May almost as soon as properties were listed, fueling the strongest sales rate in nearly a decade.

The sales gains have failed to convince more current homeowners to list their properties. Many are still recovering equity lost during the crash. For some of them, a sale would fail to generate enough of a profit to cover the expense of buying a new home. The number of listings has fallen 5.7 per cent from a year ago, meaning homebuyers have fewer and fewer options.

Sales of existing homes rose 1.8 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million, the highest level since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

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People remain intent on buying homes, despite the low inventory of properties on the market that has caused prices to rise. The elevated demand likely stems from low mortgage rates and a relatively healthy jobs picture with unemployment at 4.7 per cent, even with a recent slowdown in hiring.

“May’s existing home sales numbers suggest that healthy demand continues to support a recovering housing market, but that inventory woes are preventing a full recovery to pre-recession levels,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at online real estate firm Trulia.

Homes sold in May after just 32 days on the market, the fastest pace ever measured by the Realtors since they began tracking the figure in 2011. Homes stayed on the market on average for 40 days a year ago.

Sales rose in the Northeast, South and West last month but fell in the Midwest where real estate is generally considered more affordable.

The median home sales price was $239,700 in April, a 4.7 per cent increase over the past 12 months.

The sales gains have failed to convince more current homeowners to list their properties. Many are still recovering equity lost during the crash. For some of them, a sale would fail to generate enough of a profit to cover the expense of buying a new home. The number of listings has fallen 5.7 per cent from a year ago, meaning homebuyers have fewer and fewer options.

http://www.lillooetnews.net/us-homes-sell-at-strongest-pace-since-2007-1.2284392

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