Home Sales Up 5.5%, Biggest Gain in 5 Years

Inventories still at historic highs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 24, 2008 11:10 AM CDT
A sign shows that an existing home has sold in Bainbridge Twp, Ohio on Monday, Sept. 22, 2008.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
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(Newser) – Sales of existing US homes rose by the largest amount in more than five years in last month, a real estate trade group said today. The data offer a glimmer of hope that the housing slump could be starting to bottom out. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose by 5.5% in September compared to August.

That’s the biggest monthly increase since a 5.6% increase in July 2003, during the five-year housing boom. Even with the gain in sales, prices kept falling. The median sales price has dropped to $191,600, down 9% from a year ago. Inventories of unsold existing homes dropped by 1.6% in September to 4.27 million units, which is still a historically high level.