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SECOND-QUARTER HOME SALES GROW AS INTEREST RATES DROP, NAR REPORTS

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The lowest interest rates in over two decades boosted home resale activity in 32 states during the second quarter of 1993 compared to a year ago, resulting in a 4.5 percent increase for the nation, the National Association of Realtors reported today.
 The association's latest quarterly state-by-state survey of sales of previously owned homes posted increases ranging from 0.9 percent in Idaho to 26.2 percent in Minnesota. While figures for Alaska and Hawaii were not available, a total of 10 states recorded double-digit increases from the second quarter of 1992.
 The survey, which measures sales of existing single-family detached homes, town houses, apartment condominiums and co-operatives, showed a seasonally adjusted annual resale rate(A) of 3.96 million units for the nation during April, May and June of this year, an increase of 4.5 percent over 1992's second quarter resale figure of 3.79 million units.
 NAR President William S. Chee attributed the steady increase in resales to favorable buying conditions, while emphasizing that the outlook for further growth looks bright.
 "Progress in the housing market reflects the optimism present in today's economic recovery. With interest rates so low, consumers are taking advantage of fantastic home buying opportunities," Chee said. The Federal Home Loan Corp. reported that the national average commitment rate for 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 7.46 percent during the second quarter of 1993, compared to an average of 8.68 percent during 1992's second quarter. Interest rates have not been so low since the first quarter of 1973, when they averaged 7.45 percent.
 NAR Executive Vice President Dr. Almon R. "Bud" Smith said much of the increase in resales can be attributed to the consistent stream of first-time home buyers entering the market.
 "It seems as if the housing market is going `back to the future.' First-time home buyers are getting interest rates not seen since they were children. In some cases, rates on these homes are lower than what their parents obtained after going through a recent refinance," Smith said.
 The region recording the largest increase in resales for the second quarter of 1993 compared to the same period last year was the Midwest, with an 8.3 percent rise. Minnesota led the region with a 26.2 percent surge in resales compared to last year's second quarter; followed by Indiana, with a 21.5 percent rise; and Kansas, with 20.9 percent. The resale rate for the entire Midwest during the second quarter of 1993 was 1.04 million units compared with 960,000 units during the same time period last year.
 The South ranked second in regional home resale activity during April, May and June of this year, posting a 6.5 percent rise in resale activity compared to 1992's second quarter. States in this region showing the greatest increase were Tennessee, with a 15.1 percent boost; North Carolina, with a 14.2 percent increase; and Mississippi, recording a 10.5 percent rise. For the second quarter of 1993, home resale activity in the South was 1.47 million units, compared to 1.38 million units during the same time last year.
 In the West, home resale activity slipped 1.2 percent during 1993's second quarter, compared to last year's second quarter. Despite the overall decline in this region, seven western states reported increases. Nevada led the region with an 18.6 percent improvement, followed by Arizona at 17.3 percent and Hawaii at 7.6 percent. The West's home resales rate was 850,000 units last quarter, compared to 1992's second quarter figure of 860,000.
 The Northeast posted a 1.7 percent dip in home resale activity during the second quarter. However, five states posted increases with Connecticut leading at 21.2 percent, followed by Maine at 12.1 percent and New Hampshire at 7.0 percent. The overall resale rate for the Northeast during 1993's second quarter was 590,000 units, compared to 600,000 during the same time last year.
 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- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: Scott Sherwood, 202-383-1016, Annemarie Roketenetz, 202-383-7560, or Trisha Morris, 202-383-7560, all of the National Association of Realtors/


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

DC-IH -- DC001 -- 8730 08/03/93 08:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 3, 1993
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