National average home prices rose 6% from August to September, driven by an increase in real estate owned (REO) sales prices and transaction counts, according to a monthly real estate market survey conducted by Campbell Surveys. Increased demand REO property increased in September. The average price of distressed REO property was $124,500 in September, up from $106,700 in August. Combined with move-in ready REO, distressed properties accounted for 31% of purchase transactions during the month. The increase comes after a 1% decline experienced between July and August and was fueled by a 16% increase in home purchase transactions month-over-month, according to the survey. “Our survey statistics are indicating a mini-boom in the housing market,” said Thomas Popik, the survey’s research director. “There’s a confluence of positive factors: historically low interest rates, high demand from first-time homebuyers before the expiration of the tax credit at the end of November, increased affordability, lower inventories of foreclosed properties, and a perception among homebuyers and real estate agents that the market has turned.” Prices of non-distressed properties remained nearly level, up slightly to $268,200 in September from $267,900 in August. Non-distressed sales accounted for 55% of home purchases. Short sales took a 14% share of the transaction pool. First-time homebuyers accounted for 42% of home purchase transactions in September, and real estate agents surveyed reported that first time homebuyer traffic was up, while existing homeowner and investor traffic was down. The majority of first-time homebuyers in September purchased move-in ready REO, according to the survey. The results are based on a national survey of more than 1,500 real estate agents and changes in price and transaction rates are recorded by individual agent’s reported activity. Write to Austin Kilgore.