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 WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Sales of existing condominiums and co-operatives rose between the second quarter of this year and the same time period one year ago, as buyers continued to take advantage of extremely low mortgage rates, according to the National Association of Realtors.
 The association recorded a national seasonally adjusted annual sales rate(A) of 372,000 previously owned apartment condominiums and co- operatives for April, May and June. The second quarter resale rate was 1.9 percent higher than that for the second quarter of 1992.
 Decreasing mortgage rates during the second quarter opened up the home market to many first-time buyers searching for an affordable way to achieve home ownership, said NAR President William S. Chee.
 "Buying conditions are excellent for people looking to buy their first homes. For many, a condo or co-op is the way to go," he said.
 According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the national average commitment rate for 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages declined from 7.48 percent in April to 7.42 percent in June. On the whole, mortgage rates hit their lowest point in about 20 years, and remained more than one percentage point below the level of one year ago. Chee noted that despite sluggish economic growth in the second quarter, consumers apparently felt confident enough to follow through with their home purchases.
 "It appears that low rates outweighed the lackluster economic performance," he said. Some buyers likely bought in the second quarter in anticipation of rate increases in the future, he added.
 The national median price for existing condominiums and co- operatives was $82,700 during the second quarter, down 3.4 percent from the second quarter of 1992. The decline reflects heavy activity by first-time buyers, most of which presumably purchase in the lower price range. The condo price was 22.7 percent below the second-quarter national price for single-family homes, which was $107,000.
 Because condominiums tend to be less expensive and have lower maintenance requirements than single-family homes, the units are a wise choice for singles or couples trying to purchase on one income, Chee said.
 On a regional basis, the South posted the largest increase in condo and co-op resales. In that region, the units were sold at a rate of 122,000 during the second quarter, rising 8.0 percent from the second quarter of 1992. Much of the South's condo market is in Florida, where many sales are made to retirees. The median condo price in the South was $69,800, 1.8 percent below that for the second quarter of 1992. The condo price was 26.5 percent below the second-quarter price of $95,000 for single-family homes.
 The Midwest also posted a healthy increase in the resale pace of condos and co-ops. The rate in that region was 68,000 units in the second quarter, up 4.6 percent from the second quarter of 1992. The median condo price for the second quarter was $73,000, 3.3 percent below that for one year ago. Condominium prices are closer to single-family home prices in the Midwest than in any other region. There, the second- quarter condo price was 15.0 percent below the single-family home price, which was $85,900.
 The Northeast, which has the largest share of condominiums as a percentage of total housing, reported virtually no change inactivity. That region posted a resale rate of 75,000 units, the same rate recorded in the second quarter of 1992. The second-quarter median price for condominiums in the Northeast was $99,600, 4.9 percent lower than that for one year earlier.
 The Northeast price was 29.9 percent less than the median price of $142,100 for single-family homes in the region during the second quarter.
 The West posted a second-quarter resale pace of 107,000 units for condos and co-ops, which was 3.6 percent below the rate recorded one year earlier. The second-quarter median price for condos in the West was $105,500, 1.2 percent below that for the second quarter of 1992. The condominium price was 25.9 percent below the second-quarter price for single-family homes, which was $142,400.
 The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is the nation's largest trade association, representing nearly 750,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.
 (A) The annual rate for a particular quarter represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative resale pace for that month were maintained for four consecutive quarters. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting quarterly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales are normally higher in the summer and relatively light in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather.
 -0- 7/30/93
 /CONTACT: Trisha Morris, 202-383-7560, or Walter Molony, 202-383-1177, both of the National Association of Realtors/

CO: National Association of Realtors ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: ECO

DC-MH -- DC001 -- 7599 07/30/93 08:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 30, 1993

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