Existing home sales down 5% in FebruarySales...


Existing home sales down 5% in February

Sales of previously owned homes in February dropped to the lowest level in two years as consumer concerns over a slower economy offset a slight decline in mortgage rates, a real estate trade group said last week.

"Despite rates starting to come down some, consumers are now focused on a grim outlook in job growth," said John A. Tucillo, an economist with the National Association of Realtors.

The association reported that sales of existing single-family homes dropped 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.43 million. That was down from 3.61 million in January and 3.84 million a year earlier.

It was the smallest number of sales since a similar 3.43 million rate in March 1993. Except for a 1.9 percent gain in December, sales have not advanced since March 1994.

All regions experienced losses.

The Midwest suffered the largest loss in sales, down 7.7 percent to an 840,000 annual rate. The median price was $86,900, up 2.1 percent from $85,100 a year earlier.

South: down 4.3 percent to a 1.32 million rate; median price $92,500, down 2.4 percent.

Northeast: down 3.6 percent to a 540,000 rate; median price $137,100, down 0.4 percent.

West: down 2.7 percent to a 730,000 rate; median price $144,100, up 0.6 percent.


* Hightower Institute has been approved by the District of Columbia to teach continuing education courses to real estate professionals licensed in Washington. Eighteen hours of continuing education must be completed by the end of June as a qualification for obtaining or retaining a D.C. realty license. Call (301) 948-9547 for class time and registration information.

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