By Victoria Stilwell
Closings on existing homes, which usually occur a month or two after a contract is signed, climbed 4.7 percent to a 5.55 million annualized rate, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The increase was entirely due to a jump in purchases of single-family dwellings.
Higher property values and improved job security are helping persuade more Americans to trade up and relocate, providing a source of support for the economy amid a global slowdown. Faster new-home construction that brings additional housing supply to the market is needed to lure first-time buyers and provide a further boost to the industry.
“The trend of steady improvement continues,” said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Alabama, who was among the closest forecasters of the housing data in a Bloomberg survey. “Consumers are feeling better and they’re becoming more willing to make that commitment, but it’s still more skewed to the upper-end of the market than we’d probably like it to be.”
The median forecast of a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 5.39 million. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 75 economists ranged from 5.25 million to 5.55 million. August’s rate was revised to 5.3 million from a previously reported 5.31 million.
Compared with a year earlier, purchases increased 8 percent in September on an unadjusted basis.
The median price of an existing home increased 6.1 percent to $221,900 from $209,100 in September 2014.