22 April 2008 19:48 [Source: ICIS news]
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said sales of existing homes in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93m units, down from the February level of 5m homes and more than 19% below the sales level seen in March 2007.
The March decline appeared to dash hopes of a housing turnaround that were fuelled by the unexpected 3% boost in existing home sales in February.
Although US home mortgage loan rates remain low at around 6%, they are inching upward, the association noted, and this is a likely contributor to reluctance among prospective home buyers.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun also suggested that amid the ongoing
“It appears there is some over-reaction on the part of some lenders now in requiring higher down-payment percentages than may be necessary,” Yun said.
In addition, many potential home buyers may be sitting on the sidelines in anticipation of still further declines in home prices, hoping to buy more home for less if they just wait, he said.
NAR said the national median price for an existing home was $200,700 (€126,441) in March, down nearly 8% from the same month last year.
The inventory of existing homes for sale rose 1% in March compared with February to slightly more than 4m units on the market, which represents a 9.9-month supply of family housing units at the current sales pace.
In a more normal economic environment, the
($1 = €0.63)
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