For the second time this week, a national statistic has suggested that the real estate market might be stabilizing further.
Yesterday the U.S. Commerce Department reported that housing starts had risen 10.5% in August, though analysts pointed out that much of that number came from apartment and condominium construction.
Today the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales increased 7.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million in August from an upwardly revised 3.84 million in July, but remained 19% below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.
"The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. "Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty."
"Home values have shown stabilizing trends over the past year, even as the economy shed millions of jobs, because of the home buyer tax credit stimulus. Now that the economy is adding some jobs, the housing market needs to steadily improve and eventually stand on its own."
Analysts were encouraged that the supply of homes slipped 0.6% to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 11.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12.5-month supply in July.