Homes Sales Slip for Second Straight Month: Real Estate Market Expected to Endure despite Recent Dip
Burn, Timothy, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Sales of existing single-family homes dipped for the second straight month in September, but the residential real estate market will remain strong through the end of the year, an industry group said yesterday.
Home resales fell 1.1 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million units, the lowest since last January's rate of 4.37 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Last month's drop followed a 3.7 percent drop from 4.91 million in July, the highest since the group began tracking sales in 1968.
At the same time, home resales in September were nearly 9 percent higher than last September, and the NAR predicts total sales for 1998 will hit a record 4.75 million, besting last year's record of 4.22 million.
"The market slowed down a bit, mostly because inventory is coming down, but basically this is a good report," said Fred Flick, NAR vice president of economic research.
Around the Washington area, the residential real estate market remains strong with existing home sales up 17.25 percent in September compared with the same month last year, according to local real estate analysts.
Home sales typically begin cooling off in the fall before picking up again the following spring.
Mr. Flick and other analysts predict that low interest rates, low unemployment and continued high consumer confidence will keep a record number of Americans in the mood to buy homes, despite signs that the overall U.S. economy may be slowing.
"Low mortgage rates combined with a robust economy has given consumers a healthy appetite for buying," said David Lereah, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. …