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Sales of New and Existing Homes Rise

[Apr 23, 2010.]


Home sales rose across the U.S., according to housing data from two organizations, as Americans hustled to take advantage of a government tax credit worth up to $8,000. The tax credit, which must be claimed by April 30, combined with current mortgage rates that are still low, have created some win-win conditions for home buyers.

Sales of New Homes Jump

New home sales rose 26.9% in March from a month earlier, and were up 23.8% from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales rose across the U.S., with the South seeing the biggest gain of 43.5%. New home sales in the rose 35.7% in the Northeast, 6% in the West, and 4% in the Midwest.

There was about a 6.7 month supply of new homes for sale, the Census Bureau said,.  The average sales price of new homes sold during March was $258,600. According to the Census Bureau:

'A sale of the new house occurs with the signing of a sales contract or the acceptance of a deposit.' The house can be at any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction, or already completed. Typically about 25% of the houses are sold at the time of completion. The remaining 75% are evenly split between those not yet started and those under construction.

If you want to buy a new home, current mortgage rates are very competitive, especially if you have stellar credit. Compare mortgage rates from several mortage lenders in addition to discussing financing through builders.

Existing Home Sales Improve

Existing homes sales are reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) when the contract is closed. The NAR said this week that existing home sales rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.35 million units in March from 5.01 million units in February. The sales figures were 16.1% higher than a year earlier.

The supply of existing homes amounts to about eight months of inventory. “Foreclosures have been feeding into the inventory pipeline at a fairly steady pace and are being absorbed manageably,” Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, said in a statement. “In fact, foreclosures are selling quickly, especially in the lower price ranges that are attractive to first-time home buyers."

If you still want to take advantage of the tax credit, get moving. You only have a week to get a sales contract in place. Even if you miss the deadling for the tax credit current mortgage rates are still low enough for most buyers to get very affordable payments if they buy within their means.


About Author:

Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.

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