January 23, 2013 in Business

U.S. home sales in 2012 best in five years

Most markets showing recovery
Associated Press
 
Values increase

 NEW YORK – The value of American homes climbed 5.9 percent in 2012, the largest annual gain since the summer of 2006, according to data released Tuesday by real-estate information provider Zillow Inc.

 The jump is roughly double the historical average, Zillow said. In 2013, the company forecasts U.S. home values rising 3.3 percent.

McClatchy-Tribune

WASHINGTON – U.S. sales of previously occupied homes dipped in December from November, in part because of a limited supply of available homes. But for all of 2012, sales rose to their highest level in five years.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales declined in December to an annual rate of 4.94 million. That’s down from a rate of 4.99 million in November, which was revised lower but was still the highest in three years.

Total sales last year increased to 4.65 million. That’s 9.2 percent higher than 2011 and the most since 2007.

Sales finished below the roughly 5.5 million that are consistent with a healthy market. Still, most economists say home sales are improving steadily and that the gains should continue this year.

Stable hiring, record-low mortgage rates and a tight supply of homes available for sale have helped boost sales and prices in most markets.

“We remain convinced that the housing recovery is well under way and should continue through 2013,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, an institutional brokerage.

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