Provides Buyers with Analysis of December Housing Reports

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The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) December Existing-Home Sales report as well as the Housing Start Ups report indicate the real estate industry is on the rise. helps buyers analyze the report findings - what's affecting home sales, who's buying homes and how the different regions of the country compare.

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The modest rise in distressed sales, which typically are discounted 10 to 15 percent relative to traditional homes, dampened the median price in December, but the flat price trend continues

The NAR has just released the December Existing-Home Sales figures which has analyzed for its readers, highlighting the key findings and discussing what buyers and sellers can likely expect in the year to come based on the market performance in December. Though the numbers aren't quite as strong as they were in December 2009, they are promising that home sales will continue on in the right direction in the coming year.

Overall, the December Existing-Home Sales figures reveal positive trends continued in the last month of 2011 with existing home sales continuing to increase over last month.

Key Findings December 2011 Existing Home Sales and Start Ups Reports Include:

  •     5.28 million homes sold in December
  •     12.3% increase in home sales compared to November of this year
  •     Median existing home price is at $168,800 for all types of homes
  •     Foreclosures and short sales account for 36% of the market
  •     33% of home buyers were first-time buyers
  •     20% of home buyers were investors
  •     29% were all cash sales

Regions across the U.S. all experiened an increase in existing-home sales in December 2011, while at the same time median prices fell everywhere except in the midwest. The West saw the biggest increase in sales of 16.7%, followed by the Northeast at 13%, the Midwest with 11% and the South region with 10.1%.

Top Factors for the Improvement in Home Sales

  •     Jobs growth
  •     Housing affordability conditions at record highs
  •     Higher rental rates

A tri-fecta of job growth, higher rental prices and increased home affordability is being credited as the driving factors to the surge in home sales in December. Of those factors affordability remains the most significant catalyst closing followed by the rise in rental prices.

The one dark spot on the report is the cause of the home affordability. Distressed homes now account for 36% on the market whereas they were at 32% in December 2009. “The modest rise in distressed sales, which typically are discounted 10 to 15 percent relative to traditional homes, dampened the median price in December," says NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun. "But the flat price trend continues,” he added .

The Housing Starts report was slightly more mixed but overall suggested positive trends in construction. Though starts decreased by 4.1% overall in December that's in comparison to November which saw the largest gain in a year and a half. The report shows that the decline was due to a sharp drop in multi-family home building not single-family homes which actually increased by 4.4%. In addition, sentiment among builders is on the rise and at its highest level since June 2007.

To learn more about measuring the health of your local market or to search for homes for sale in your area, please visit:

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