Buyers looking to close on home sales in time to collect the homebuyer tax credit pushed existing home sales up in June 5.6% compared to the same month a year ago, according to a monthly survey of 54 metro areas conducted by the national brokerage chain ReMax. In addition, Denver-based ReMax said home sales prices were up 3.5% year-over-year. Compared to May, transaction volume was up 7.2%. The increases were attributed on the tax credit and said despite the increases, the heightened volume will not be sustained. The chart below tracks transaction volume. “There’s no question, the tax credit has had a significant impact on this market,” ReMax CEO Margaret Kelly said in a press release. ”No one can predict the future, and we may still see a slight pull back, but for right now it appears that housing is holding its own, hopefully on the road to a sustainable recovery.” The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported existing home sales decreased 2.2% in May, even though buyers had the opportunity to claim the homebuyer tax credit if they signed a sales contract by April 30. The report represents a sampling of approximately 40% of the nation’s multiple listing services (MLS), but the association does not report individual market performance. The June edition of the NAR report is scheduled for release on Thursday. While overall activity was up, individual market results varied across the country. ReMax tracks MLS data in 54 national real estate markets in its monthly report. Of those markets, 27 — half — had increased transaction counts, while the other half decreased year-over-year. Sales were up by double-digit rates in many Northeast markets including Philadelphia (27%), Boston and Hartford, Conn. (23% each) and Providence, RI (21%). There were 27 markets that experienced year-over-year price changes in June, two were unchanged and 25 were lower. The weighted average median price for all markets in June was $211,530. California markets experienced the largest median price increases, including San Francisco (18%), Los Angeles (10%) and San Diego (9%), all over June 2009 levels. The days-on-market average for home national home sales was 81 in June, down from 83 in May and 89 in June 2009. The number of homes for sale was down 5.8% from June 2009, but up 1.2% from May. The average months supply of inventory was 8.5 months, unchanged from May, meaning it would take that long to exhaust the current inventory at the current sales pace. A six-month inventory is considered a balance market. Write to Austin Kilgore.
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