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Lower Interest Rates Help U.S. Home Resales Rise 2.7%

November 14, 1989|From Associated Press

DALLAS — Resales of single-family houses increased 2.7% in the third quarter, spurred by lower interest rates and recovering markets in the South and Midwest, the National Assn. of Realtors reported Monday.

In California, 501,600 existing single-family homes closed escrow during the third quarter, down 4.2% from the previous quarter and 14.6% below the third quarter of 1988, according to the California Assn. of Realtors.

Statewide, the median price of a home slipped 0.4% from $201,729 in the second quarter to $200,933 in the third quarter. Even with the decline, the third-quarter median price was 14.6% higher than the like period a year ago, when the median price was $175,400.

Meanwhile, the national median price for a house rose 2.1% to $95,000, although there were wide regional differences, the realtors group said.

"What we've got here is a picture of a housing market in which activity remains historically strong but varies across the country," said John Tuccillo, the realtors' chief economist. "It's a market in which home prices are appreciating slightly greater than the rate of inflation, but again with strong regional variations."

South Dakota saw the largest percentage jump in resale of existing single-family detached homes, townhouses, apartment condominiums and co-operatives, increasing 31.6% from the second quarter. In all, 36 states and Washington, D.C., had increased resales.

Utah had the largest decrease as resales there fell 14.6%.

California led in the number of sales, with 501,600, almost twice as many as second-place Pennsylvania at 259,900. Placing third, with 226,500 sales, was Texas, where real estate values have been depressed following the collapse of energy prices in the mid-1980s.

Honolulu and the San Francisco Bay Area remained the most expensive areas, with median home prices of $275,000 in Honolulu and $269,400 in San Francisco. Orange County is the third most expensive at $249,100.

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