Industry News

Condo sales maintain muscle in real estate market

First-quarter sales slowed, but still strong

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Sales of existing condominiums and cooperatives slowed in the first quarter but posted the third highest sales pace ever, according to the National Association of Realtors. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for existing-condo and -co-op sales slipped 0.3 percent to 937,000 units in the first quarter from an upwardly revised 940,000-unit rate in the fourth quarter. Sales activity in the first quarter was 11.2 percent above the 843,000-unit sales level during the same period in 2003. The record was an annual rate of 941,000 units in the third quarter of last year–only 0.4 percent above the current pace. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the correlation between strong condo sales and low interest rates is pretty obvious. "Mortgage interest rates were at the second lowest level on record in the first quarter, so it should come as no surprise that we see condo sales within a fraction of a percentage point of a record," he said. "Couple this with a demographic push at bo...