Home sales rebounded in 49 states during the fourth quarter of 2010, signaling the housing market is starting recover according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors.
During the quarter, state existing home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 15.4% to 4.80 million, up from 4.16 million in the third quarter. Sales were still down 19.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009 when activity was driven by the availability of the first time home buyer tax credit.
“Home sales clearly recovered in the latter part of 2010 and are helping to absorb the inventory, including many distressed properties,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Even with foreclosures continuing to enter the inventory pipeline, they’ve been selling well and housing supplies have trended down,” he said. “A recovery to normalcy requires steady trimming of the inventories.”
According to NAR, the national median existing single-family price was $170,600 in the fourth quarter, up 0.2% from $170,300 in the fourth quarter of 2009. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes, typically sold at a discount of 10 to 15%, accounted for 34% of fourth quarter sales, little changed from 32 percent a year earlier.
Yun added, “An improving housing market and job growth will go hand in hand. The housing recovery will mean faster job growth.” He projects about 150,000 to 200,000 jobs will be added to the economy this year from an anticipated 300,000 additional home sales in 2011.