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Monday, May 24, 2010

Tax Credit Pushes Existing Home Sales Up 7.6%

Existing home sales in April rose 7.6% to an annualized 5.77 million units, their fastest pace since November, when the original first-time home buyer tax credit expired. Aided by the extended tax credit, April registered the second consecutive month-over-month increase in sales of at least 7%, following three months of declines. To qualify for the tax credit, buyers must have contracted to purchase a home by the end of April and completed the purchase by the end of June. From a year prior, sales were up 23%.

The listings of homes available for sale increased for the third consecutive month, rising 12% from March to April, the largest gain since April 2000. The rise in listings offset the increased sales, pushing the months supply of inventory from 8.1 to 8.4. Aside from the tax credit pulling more properties on the market, listings of distressed properties may also be contributing to the rise. Over the month, the median sales price rose 2.1% to $173,100. From a year earlier, prices were up 4.0%.

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