U.S. existing home sales continue to rise, prices dip in January

08:25, February 24, 2011      

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U.S. existing-home sales continued to post gain in January this year, with sales increasing for the third consecutive month but prices further declining, a leading industry group reported on Wednesday.

Existing-home sales, including completed transactions of single- family houses, apartments and condominiums, rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million units in January 2011 from a revised 5.22 million units in December 2010, up 2.7 percent month on month. The level was 5.3 percent above the 5.09 million units level in January 2010, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a report.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement was good, but "could be better."

The median existing single-family home price nationwide further dipped to 159,400 U.S. dollars in January 2011, down 2.7 percent from a year ago, noted the report.

"The extremely favorable housing affordability conditions are a big factor, but buyers have been constrained by unnecessarily tight credit. As a result, there are abnormally high levels of all- cash purchases, along with rising investor activity," Yun said.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.76 percent in January 2011 from 4.71 percent in December 2010, and the rate was 5.03 percent in January 2010.

Source: Xinhua

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