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NAR REPORTS HEALTHY FOURTH QUARTER FOR CONDO/CO-OP SALES

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Sales of existing condominiums and co-operatives rose across the nation with gains posted in all regions between the fourth quarter of 1992 and the same period one year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported today. The strongest activity was posted in the Northeast and South.
 The 1992 fourth quarter annual sales rate(A) for condominiums and co-operatives rose 15.6 percent to 385,000 units, compared with the same period in 1991. Helping to push overall sales up was a healthy 24.2 percent increase in the Northeast, followed by a 16.8 percent rise in the South, compared to the same period a year ago.
 The Midwest and West regions of the United States also posted healthy gains of 13.6 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 1992, compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
 For all of 1992, the nation experienced a 7.1 percent rise in the annual sales rate. All regions posted gains between 1992 and 1992.
 "Sales of condominiums and co-operatives continue to be spurred on by low mortgage interest rates and the leveling off of home prices," said NAR President William S. Chee.
 "A growing number of first-time buyers are opting to purchase condos and co-ops as first homes because they are often more affordable than single-family homes. This activity is clearly helping put the bounce back into real estate market," Chee added.
 According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the national average commitment rate for 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages was 8.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 1992, compared to 8.7 percent during the same period in 1991.
 The national median price for existing condominiums and cooperatives during the fourth quarter 1992 was $83,500, 1.1 percent less than the same period the previous year, and nearly 20 percent below the $103,400 median price for single-family homes. The median is the midpoint of the price range -- half the homes sell for more, half for less.
 "This rise in sales across the board compared to 1991 tells a real story. That story is that more and more consumers are feeling comfortable with the housing market and confident in the nation's econ,?" said NAR Chief Economist John A. Tuccillo.
 "A lot of first-time buyers are realizing that putting off the decision to purchase their first home can no longer be justified based on the current market conditions," Tuccillo added.
 In the fourth quarter of 1992, the Northeast's condominium and co-operative resale rate climbed to 82,000 units, compared to 66,000 the previous year. The region's median price registered $102,100, a drop of 2.8 percent from the previous year. In contrast, the median price of an existing single-family home there was $136,300.
 In the South, condominiums and co-operatives sold at a rate of 125,000 units in the fourth quarter of 1992, compared to 107,000 a year earlier. The median price was $69,100, up 2.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 1991. The South's existing single-family home median sales price compares at $92,100.
 The Midwest's condo/co-op resale rate rose 13.6 percent to 67,000 units from 1991's fourth quarter, to last year's fourth quarter. The fourth quarter median sales price rose a slight 0.4 percent to $74,500 during that time. This compares with a median sales price of $82,100 for an existing single-family home.
 In the West, the condo/co-op resale rate of 111,000 units during the fourth quarter was up 9.9 percent compared to the same period in 1991. The median resale price in that region was $100,700, down 0.4 percent from a year earlier. This compares with $141,300 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- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Annemarie Roketenetz, 202-383-7560; Trisha Morris, 202-383-7560; 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

DS -- DC004 -- 1157 02/01/93 08:44 EST
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Date:Feb 1, 1993
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