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FOURTH-QUARTER HOME SALES RISE IN 46 STATES, NAR REPORTS

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Low interest rates continued to coax home buying consumers into the marketplace, pushing home resale activity up in 46 states during the fourth quarter of 1992 compared to a year ago, and resulting in an annualized national increase of 8.5 percent compared to 1991, the National Association of Realtors reported today.
 According to the associations's latest quarterly state-by-state survey of sales of previously owned homes, the increases ranged from 3.4 percent in Texas to 37.1 percent in Kansas. While figures for Alaska, Georgia and Maine were not available, a total of 39 states registered double- digit increases from the fourth quarter of 1991.
 Nationwide, the NAR survey of sales of existing single-family detached homes, town houses, apartment condominiums and co- operatives, showed resales totaled 3.86 million units for 1992, an increase of 8.5 percent over 1991's resale figure of 3.56 million units.
 During October, November and December of last year, the seasonally adjusted annual home resale rate(A) reached 4.22 million units, an increase of 18.3 percent, compared to 3.56 million for the same time a year earlier. Although most states saw strong improvements, smaller increases in states such as California and Texas affected the national pace.
 NAR President William S. Chee said the continued increase in home sales experienced by most of the nation is a positive indication that the country's housing industry is back on track in the midst of a steady economic recovery.
 "Throughout 1992, the continued low interest rates and more realistic pricing by sellers helped boost consumer confidence in the housing market. People are now acting on what they've known all along -- real estate is a good buy," Chee said.
 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 healthy double-digit boost in resales during the fourth quarter of 1992.
 NAR Executive Vice President Dr. Almon R. "Bud" Smith said much of the increase in resales also can be attributed to market conditions that are attractive to an increased number of first-time buyers.
 "First-time buyers who have been waiting to purchase a home of their own are feeling better about the economy. This recovery in consumer confidence is helping to release a lot of pent up demand that had slowed the market previously," Smith added.
 The region posting the greatest increase in resales for the fourth quarter last year compared to the same period a year earlier was the Northeast, with a 23.5 percent rise. Leading the region were Massachusetts with a 30.5 percent increase in resales compared to the fourth quarter of 1991, New Hampshire with a 27.5 percent rise and
Rhode Island with a 27.3 percent jump. The Northeast's 1992 annual resale figure reached 611,000 units, a 12.1 percent increase over 1991's total of 545,000 units.
 Ranking second among the regions was the Midwest, which posted a 20.7 percent increase in resales for 1992's fourth quarter compared to the same period a year ago. States in this region showing the strongest increase were: Kansas, with a 37.1 percent rise; Missouri, with 36.3 percent; and North Dakota, at 27.4 percent. For 1992, home resales in the Midwest totaled 1.1 million, a 12 percent increase over 1991's total of 901,000.
 The 31.4 percent home resale increase in Oregon, combined with the 25.1 percent increase in New Mexico and the 20.7 percent rise in Colorado, boosted resales in the West by 16.2 percent in 1992's fourth quarter, compared with the fourth quarter of 1991. The West's home resales in 1992 rose 6.1 percent to 1.39 million units, compared to 1991's total of 1.31 million units.
 In the South, home resale activity in the fourth quarter of 1992 rose 15.8 percent compared to the same quarter in 1991. Leaders in this region were West Virginia, with a 27 percent increase; Alabama, with a 26.9 percent rise; and Kentucky, showing a growth rate of 24.1 percent. Home resales in the South totaled 1.39 million units for 1992, a 6.1 percent rise over 1991's 1.31 million units.
 The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is the nation's largest trade association, represent 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- 2/9/93
 /CONTACT: Annemarie Roketenetz, 202-383-7560, Scott Sherwood, 202-383-1016, or Rose Matthews, 202-383-1135, all of the National Association of Realtors/


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

DC -- DC006 -- 4469 02/09/93 08:45 EST
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Date:Feb 9, 1993
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