Consumer Comeback Blog

U.S. Home Sales Climb to Two-Year High

The National Association of Realtors handed home-owners some good news when, on Wednesday morning, it released reported.

Existing home purchases increased 7.8%o a 4.82 annual rate, the highest since May 2010 and 9.3% above August 2011. Economists predicted home sales would only increase to 4.56 million. After dropping 4.5% in August, construction on single-family homes rose 5.5% to a 535,000 annual rate, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. The recovery was the fastest since April 2010.

Permits for the building of new single-family homes increased 0.2% to a 512,000 annual rate, the highest since March 2010. Starting construction of all homes, multifamily dwellings included, increased 2.3% to 750,000 annual rate, less than predicted.

Bloomberg reported that the decrease in the starting construction was due to the volatility of multifamily dwelling construction, which dropped 4.9% to an annual rate of 215,000.

According to figures from the U.S. Commerce Department, construction of single-family homes rose 5.5% to a 535,000 rate.

Home owners received an additional piece of good news from the NAR, in the form of an increase in sales prices. The national median price for an existing single-family home was $187,400 in August, up 9.5% from the same time last year, which marked the sixth consecutive month of increases.

In a written statementthe NAR said that “the last time there were six back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier was from December 2005 to May 2006.”

The August price increase was the strongest since January 2006 when the median price rose 10.2%. The median existing single-family home price was $188,700 in August, up 10.2% from August 2011. The median time on market was 70 days in August, consistent with July’s 69 days. However, the time on market was down 23.9% from 92 days in August 2011.