Total second-quarter sales of existing single-family homes, apartment condos and co-ops were up 16 percent nationwide from the second quarter of last year, setting a new record, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

The seasonally adjusted annual resale rate of home, condo and co-op units reached 7.79 million units in the second quarter of this year, compared with 6.72 million units in the second quarter of 2003. The previous record was 7.36 million units, set in the third quarter of 2003. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for a particular quarter represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative sales pace for that quarter were maintained for four consecutive quarters. Total home sales include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-operative housing. This data differs from the association’s monthly statistics on existing-home sales, which are based only on single-family homes (detached and townhomes).

Regionally, the West saw the biggest rise in resale growth – a 19.8 percent increase in sales from the second quarter of 2003 to the second quarter of this year. And the South had the highest volume of sales, with 3.2 million units sold in the second quarter of this year for a 17.5 percent gain in sales over last year’s second quarter. The Northeast had a 12.6 percent gain in sales of existing units, and Midwest had a 10.1 percent gain from the second quarter of 2003 to the second quarter of 2004.

Sales rose by double-digit rates in 34 states and the District of Columbia compared to the same quarter in 2003 and no state recorded a decline. Complete data was not available for New Hampshire and Vermont.

Sales were up 32.5 percent in Nevada in the second quarter of this year compared with the second quarter of 2003, which was the strongest performance among states. Idaho sales were up 31 percent from a year ago and Arizona had a 25.1 percent gain over last year’s second-quarter rate.

Michigan had the lowest gain in existing single-family home, apartment condo and co-op sales from the second quarter of 2003 to the second quarter of this year, followed by Montana and South Dakota. Sales were up 1.5 percent in Michigan, 2.1 percent in Montana, 3.5 percent in South Dakota, 5.2 percent in Ohio, 6.1 percent in Washington and 6.2 percent in Indiana during that period.

Florida had the highest resale volume in the second quarter of this year, with 750,900 units, followed by California with 718,700 units, Texas with 701,600 units and North Carolina with 337,400 units, the association reported. Delaware, with 11,400 units, had the lowest resale volume in the second quarter of the year, followed by North Dakota with 15,100, Wyoming with 15,300, and Washington, D.C., which had 17,900 units.

David Lereah, chief economist for the association, said, “Technology streamlining in mortgage origination has reduced costs in recent years through increased efficiencies. Combine that with low interest rates and a strong demand from both the growing and aging segments of the population, along with rising consumer confidence in an improving economy, and you have both the wherewithal and the need to create a record housing market.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage was 6.13 percent in the second quarter, up from 5.60 percent in the first quarter; the rate was 5.51 percent in the second quarter of 2003 – the lowest quarterly average since the series began in 1971.

Walt McDonald, association president and broker-owner of Walt McDonald Real Estate in Riverside, Calif., said, “Mortgage interest rates have come back down to the 6 percent range over the last few weeks. Although mortgage rates will trend gradually upward, they will remain historically low. What won’t change is the demographic demand from more people entering the years in which they typically buy a first home, which is freeing existing owners to make another purchase and keep home sales at a higher plateau than we saw in the beginning of this decade.”

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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