WASHINGTON, D.C. -Conditions for home buyers improved during the third quarter as existing single-family home prices in many metropolitan areas experienced corrections, and most states saw sales activity below a year ago which helped to build housing inventories, according to the latest quarterly surveys by the National Association of Realtors.
Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.27 million units in the third quarter, down 12.7 percent from a 7.18 million-unit pace in the third quarter of 2005 – the second highest level on record, after a peak of 7.19 million in the second quarter of last year. Even with the overall decline, 10 states showed increases in sales activity from a year ago.
Third-quarter metro area single-family home prices, examining changes in 148 metropolitan statistical areas, 2 show 102 areas had price gains, including
21 metros with double-digit annual increases, and 45 areas experiencing price declines; one was unchanged.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said market conditions are nearly the opposite of a year ago. “Last year we had a record sales market and historically tight supplies of homes with buyers bidding over the asking price,” he said. “With the market in full transition, buyers now have choices and sellers are more willing to negotiate – under these circumstances it’s no surprise that overall home prices are slightly below a year ago. We expect this trend to continue in the months ahead, but we’ll see modest appreciation in most of the country in 2007.”