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NAR REPORTS HEALTHY CONDO MARKETS IN NORTHEAST AND MIDWEST

 NAR REPORTS HEALTHY CONDO MARKETS IN NORTHEAST AND MIDWEST
 WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Sales of existing condominiums and co-operatives remained stable on a national basis between the third quarter of 1992 and the same period one year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported today. Strong activity was posted in the Northeast and Midwest.
 The 1992 third quarter annual sales rate(A) for condominiums and co-operatives slipped 0.9 percent to 335,000 units, compared to the third quarter of 1991. Helping to cushion that slide was an 8.5 percent increase in the Northeast and a 5.3 percent rise in the Midwest, compared to a year ago.
 The improvement in two regions hit hard by the recession indicates that consumer confidence in the real estate market is coming back, according to NAR President Dorcas T. Helfant.
 "Spurred by low mortgage interest rates and a leveling off of home prices, more and more first-time buyers are venturing into the homeownership arena through the purchase of condos and co-ops, which are often more affordable than single-family starter homes," Helfant said.
 According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the national average commitment rate for 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages was 8.01 percent for the third quarter of 1992, compared to 9.28 percent a year ago.
 "Conditions are right for first-time buyers to enter the housing market. We have low mortgage interest rates, a leveling off of prices and recent changes to the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program that will open more doors of opportunity to consumers," Helfant said.
 Changes to the FHA mortgage program expected to help boost first- time home buyers into the market include allowing 100 percent financing of closing costs and an increase in the program's loan limit in high cost areas, Helfant added.
 The national median price for existing condominiums and cooperatives during the third quarter 1992 was $85,000, 2.3 percent less than a year ago, and 17.7 percent below the $103,500 median price for single-family homes during the same period. The median is the midpoint of the price range -- half the homes sell for more, half for less.
 NAR Chief Economist John A. Tuccillo said the growth in sales of condominiums and co-operatives in the Northeast and Midwest are good signs that the housing market is getting the "kick start" it has needed for some time.
 "The rise in sales experienced in these two regions of the nation indicate good things on the horizon. The increase shows that a rising number of first-time buyers are starting to take advantage of low rates and realistic pricing to open the door of a home of their own," Tuccillo said.
 "More importantly, however, this activity shows that consumers are feeling more comfortable with the market and are starting to regain confidence in the economy," Tuccillo added.
 In the third quarter of 1992, the Northeast's condominium and co- operative resale rate climbed to 77,000 units, compared to 71,000 units a year ago. Additionally, the region's median condominium and co-operative price registered $104,900, a drop of 3.8 percent from the previous year. In contrast, the median price of an existing single-family home in the region during the third quarter was $140,000.
 In the Midwest, condominiums and co-operatives sold at a rate of 60,000 units during the third quarter of 1992, compared to 57,000 a year earlier. The Midwest's median condominium price was $74,500, down 0.3 percent from the third quarter of 1992. The existing single-family home median sale price for the Midwest was $81,600 for the third quarter.
 The South's condominium/co-operative resale rate fell by 3.7 percent to 104,000 units in the third quarter, compared to a year earlier. The median price rose a slight 0.9 percent to $69,400, compared with $92,800 for an existing single-family home.
 In the West, the condominium/co-operative resale rate of 95,000 units during the third quarter was down 6.9 percent compared to last year. The median resale price for condominiums and co-operatives in that region was $112,800, up 3.4 percent from a year ago. This compares with $142,200 for a single-family home there.
 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 were maintained for four consecutive quarters. Seasonally-adjusted annual rates are used to factor out seasonal variations in real estate activity. For example, sales are normally higher in the summer and relatively light in winter, primarily because of differences in weather and changing demographic patterns.
 -0- 11/2/92
 /CONTACT: Annemarie Roketenetz, 202-383-7560; Trisha Morris, 202-383-7560; or Scott Sherwood, 202-383-1016; all of the National Association of Realtors/ CO: National Association of Realtors ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DS -- DC002 -- 1412 11/02/92 09:22 EST
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Date:Nov 2, 1992
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