Existing home sales up, prices down: NAR

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September saw a 9.4 percent increase in existing home sales year-over-year nationwide to 5.57 million, the highest level in two years, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Inventory decreased 7.5 percent to 3.63 million homes on the market. Meanwhile, the median price of a home dropped 8.5 percent from last September, to $174,900, the data show. Homes priced on the lower end continued to comprise the lion’s share of sales, with under-$100,000 home sales increasing 22.5 percent. For homes above $750,000, the number of sales was down year-over-year. First-time homebuyers had a strong showing in the sales market. The association’s annual survey of homebuyers found that first-time buyers, eligible for the first-time homebuyer tax credit, account for 45 percent of all buyers. “The homebuyer tax credit stimulus measure is having its intended impact of lifting sales, lowering inventory and lessening the price decline pressures,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, in his commentary on the association’s Web site. TRD

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