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Existing-home sales rise in April, says NAR


WASHINGTON – May 27, 2009 – Existing-home sales rose in April with strong buyer activity in lower price ranges, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).


Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – increased 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million units in April from a downwardly revised pace of 4.55 million units in March, but were 3.5 percent below the 4.85 million-unit level in April 2008.


Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says first-time buyers continue to influence the market but there also is a seasonal rise of repeat buyers.


“Most of the sales are taking place in lower price ranges and activity is beginning to pick up in the midprice ranges, but high-end home sales remain sluggish,” he says. “The Federal Reserve needs to help restore liquidity for the jumbo mortgage market by buying these loans under the TALF program.


“Because foreclosed properties will likely be released into the market over the rest of the year, it is critical that distressed homes be quickly cleared from the market,” Yun says. “Fortunately, home buyers are being attracted to deeply discounted prices and are bidding up many foreclosed listings, particularly in California, Nevada and Florida – this will set the stage for healthy market conditions going forward.”