Housing Looking Stronger as ‘10 Approaches
-Tim McLaughlin, VP Weichert Financial Services
Sales of existing U.S. homes rose more than forecast in November, to the highest level since February 2007, a sign housing is gaining strength along with the broader economy entering 2010.
Purchases increased 7.4% to a 6.54 million annual rate from a revised 6.09 million pace the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday in Washington. The median sales price declined 4.3% from the same month a year earlier, the smallest decrease since November 2007.
Lower interest rates, affordable homes and a homebuyer tax credit have resuscitated a housing market that contributed to the worst economic slump since the 1930s. A sustained recovery in housing and the economy depends on a resumption of payroll growth after employers cut 7.2 million jobs in the past two years.
“The tax credit had the intended impact of drawing buyers in and lowering inventory,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the Realtors group, said in a press conference. “An estimated 2 million buyers have taken advantage of the credit.”