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QUARTERLY CONDO SALES REMAIN HEALTHY

 QUARTERLY CONDO SALES REMAIN HEALTHY
 WASHINGTON, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Sales of existing


condominiums and co-operatives during the second quarter of 1992 showed steady growth compared to the same time period last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Combined with impressive first quarter results, condo and co-op sales for the first six months of this year have not been at such a high level since the first quarter of 1990.
 The 1992 second quarter annual sales rate(A) of 366,000 units exceeds last year's figure by 2.5 percent, complemented by regional increases in every part of the nation except the West. With mortgage interest rates at their lowest levels since 1973, first-time buyers are continuing to exhibit an interest in entering the housing market, according to NAR President Dorcas T. Helfant. "Those who are looking to buy but who can't quite reach their dream of a single-family home are settling for a realistic alternative," she said.
 According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the national average commitment rate for 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages was 8.7 percent during the second quarter.
 "Mortgage interest rates have declined since, and bargain interest rates may be creating market momentum, but it's unnerving to see how many consumers remain shut out of housing markets by downpayment barriers," Helfant said.
 The national median price for existing condominiums and cooperatives during April, May and June was $85,500 -- a 2.2 percent drop from one year earlier, and 21.1 percent below the $103,600 median price for single-family homes during the same time period. The median is the mid-point of the price range -- half the homes sell for more, half for less. Variations in median prices and sales are due to regional market differences.
 NAR Chief Economist John A. Tuccillo noted that for those who are not able to save enough for a downpayment on a single-family home, condominiums and co-ops offer an affordable choice in home resale markets throughout the nation.
 "Affordability is the key, but other aspects of condo/co-op ownership prove very appealing to many. It may be the first chance for them to build equity in a home where maintenance is not an ongoing concern."
 Tuccillo attributes the growth in sales of existing condominiums and co-operatives during this second quarter in part to the dramatic recovery being experienced by the Northeast.
 "The return of a healthy market in the Northeast is becoming a very big story -- especially when you consider how that region fell so quickly when the recession hit," Tuccillo added.
 In the second quarter of 1992, the Northeast's condo and co-op resale rate climbed 11.8 percent higher than a year earlier to 76,000 units. Additionally, the region's median condo price registered $105,900 -- a drop of 1.9 percent from the previous year. In contrast, the median price of an existing single family home in the Northeast during the second quarter was $143,600.
 In the Midwest, condos and co-ops sold at a rate of 69,000 units during the second quarter of 1992, a boost of 6.2 percent from the previous year. The Midwest's median condo price was recorded at $74,700, edging up 0.1 percent from the second quarter of 1991. For existing single family homes, the median Midwestern price was recorded at $81,500 during the second quarter of this year.
 Southern condo and co-op resale rates rose 1.8 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier to 114,000 units. Median prices of condos also rose slightly in the South, by 1.6 percent to $71,100. The median price


of existing single family homes in the South was $91,900 during the second quarter.
 In the West, the pace of resales registered at 107,000 units during the second quarter, a dip of 5.3 percent when compared to a sales surge during the second quarter last year. The median price for Western condos decreased 0.7
percent from the previous year to $107,700. The median price of a Western single family home in the second quarter of 1992 was $144,600.
 The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is the nation's largest trade association, representing more than 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 resale 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- 7/31/92
 /CONTACT: Scott Sherwood, 202-383-1016; Trisha Morris, 202-383-7560; Walt Molony, 202-383-1177; all of the National Association of Realtors/ CO: National Association of Realtors ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: ECO


DS -- DC005 -- 5441 07/31/92 08:45 EDT
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Date:Jul 31, 1992
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