National Real Estate Market Report

According to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Monday, sales of existing homes rose in July much further than expected as buyers snapped up deeply discounted properties.  The number of unsold properties, however, also hit an all-time high, an indication that the housing slump is far from over. Prices nationwide are not expected to hit bottom until early next year.

Home sales rose 3.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million units, up from June's downwardly revised rate of 4.85 million units. Sales had been expected to rise by only 1.6%. Though its the third monthly sales increase this year, the number of unsold single-family homes and condominiums rose to 4.67 million, the highest number since the NAR began tracking data back in 1968.

The report revealed that home sales were about 13% lower than a year ago. Nationally, the median price for a home sold in July dropped to $212,000, down by 7.1% from a year ago.

Until the inventory level is reduced, the housing slump is likely to persist. It doesn’t help that the inventory level is being driven higher by a new wave of mortgage foreclosures. Moody’s predicts that almost 2.8 million U.S. households will either face foreclosure, turn over their homes to their lender or sell the properties for less than their mortgage's value by the end of next year.

One key unknown for the U.S. housing market is the future ability of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to supply money for loans. The two government-sponsored companies have dramatically cut back the availability of mortgages as they cope with mounting losses from foreclosures.

According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, Saint Paul real estate was right up there with the national trend and even beat it, as there were 5.3% more closed sales on homes within the city in July of this year as compared to July of 2007.  We tend to be doing a little better on home sales in general, as the City of Saint Paul has almost exactly 2.0% fewer sales than last year, which is negligible when compared to the drop in sales at other cities, even within the Twin Cities metro area.  For our short analysis of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors real estate market report, please click here. 

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