NYTimes: Home Sales in April Top Expectations

From The New York Times:

Home Sales in April Top Expectations

Sales of previously owned homes rose 7.6 percent in April, aided by a tax credit for first-time buyers.

http://nyti.ms/cPuDiG


Home Sales in April Top Expectations
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: 25 May 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Home sales in April surpassed expectations as government incentives provided a temporary lift to the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of previously owned homes rose 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million. That was the best showing in five months and better than the 5.63 million units economists had expected.
The increase in sales ignited a rise in home prices. The median price for a new home rose to $173,100, up 4 percent from a year ago.
The federal government provided a lift to home sales this spring by offering first-time buyers a tax credit of up to $8,000. Homeowners looking to upgrade could qualify for a credit of up to $6,500. The deadline for getting a signed sales contract was April 30.
Sales were up in all parts of the country except the West. The gains were led by a 21.1 percent jump in the Northeast and a 9.9 percent rise in the Midwest. Sales also rose 8.6 percent in the South.
The only region of the country that saw sales decline was the West, where sales dropped 6.2 percent from March.
The big question facing the housing market is what happens now that the government’s tax credits have expired.
“No doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the Realtors.
But Mr. Yun said that the improving economy has led to an upswing in consumer confidence, which should help support sales in the months ahead.

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