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FIRST-QUARTER HOME SALES RISE IN 29 STATES, NAR REPORTS

 WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a cold, wet winter in many areas across the country, home buyers still ventured into the marketplace, pushing home resale activity up in 29 states during the first quarter of 1993 compared to a year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported today.
 According to the association's latest quarterly state-by-state survey of sales of previously owned homes, the increases ranged from 0.1 percent in Texas to 25.7 percent in Hawaii, while a total of 10 states registered double-digit increases. Figures for Alaska and Georgia were not available.
 NAR President William S. Chee said the increase shows that even in bad weather, consumers recognize that market conditions are peak for purchasing real estate. "While adverse weather conditions in the first three months of the year did stall sales in some states that had previously experienced increases, the activity in many states shows that serious home buyers will not let the cold keep them from taking advantage of a market full of opportunities," Chee said.
 "We anticipate this activity to continue through 1993, given the fact that consumer confidence appears to be on the mend, and interest rates are expected to continue to remain low," he added.
 Nationwide, the NAR survey of sales of existing single-family detached homes, town houses, apartment condominiums and co-operatives, showed a seasonally adjusted annual resale rate(A) of 3.92 million units during January, February and March of this year, an increase of 3.4 percent over the 3.79 million units registered during the same period the previous year.
 Although a hefty number of states experienced improvements compared to a year ago, a slower sales pace in 18 states held down the national pace. In addition, Kentucky and Montana experienced no growth.
 The NAR survey, which covers sales of existing single-family detached homes, town houses, apartment condominiums and co-operatives, showed that every region of the nation, experienced a rise in resales during the first quarter of 1993, compared to the previous year.
 John A. Tuccillo, NAR's chief economist, said the slow down in momentum in some areas can be attributed to the bad weather -- especially the "Blizzard of '93."
 "The survey numbers clearly show a sales drop in states where the weather was the worst, rather than a lack of consumer confidence in the economy. For instance, Hawaii, which has no snow, led the states in sales activity during the first quarter," Tuccillo noted.
 The region posting the greatest increase in resales for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period a year ago was the Northeast, with an 8.6 percent rise. Leading the region was Pennsylvania with a 19.2 percent increase. Vermont followed, with a 17.9 percent growth rise; and Massachusetts came in third with a 13.5 percent growth rate.
 Ranking second among the regions was the Midwest, which posted a 3.0 percent increase in resales for the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. States in this region showing the strongest increase were: South Dakota, with a 16.2 percent rise; Indiana, with 10.8 percent; and Michigan, at 10.1 percent.
 In the South, home resales in the first quarter of 1993 rose 2.9 percent, compared to the same quarter in 1992. Home resale leaders in this region were West Virginia, with a 12.1 percent increase; Florida, with 6.9 percent rise; and Alabama, with a 6.4 percent increase.
 In the West, resales rose 2.4 percent during the first quarter compared to
the previous year. The region was led by Hawaii, with a


25.7 percent increase; Wyoming, with a 17.2 percent rise and Oregon with an 11.4 percent increase.
 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 seasonally adjusted 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 quarter were maintained for the year's 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 volume normally is higher in the summer and relatively light in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather.
 -0- 5/5/93
 /CONTACT: Annemarie Roketenetz, 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: CST SU: ECO

DC-IH -- DC001 -- 4713 05/05/93 08:46 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1993
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