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Housing bounces back in Sept.

NEW YORK — The broad U.S. housing market perked up in September after taking a breather the month before, with two of it three key components recording strong gains, and only housing starts declining.

Reversing a slide the month before, sales of existing homes, which accounts for almost 70 percent of all housing activity, climbed 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted level of 6.8 million units. Sales of existing homes are now down just 2.5 percent from a 13-month high of 6.9 million units in June, and are 10 percent above a low of 6 million units in January.

David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said historically low interest rates translated into last months bump in sales. "The good news is that interest rates have been fairly stable over the past month, hovering near generational lows, increasing the purchasing power of buyers trying to get into the housing market."

Winning back some of August's deep 6.4 percent slide, sales of new homes advanced 3.5 percent, to a seasonally adjusted level of 1.2 million units. But even with the September gain, the highly volatile market for costly new homes was still down 5 percent from a 13-month high of 1.3 million units sold in March.

The most forward-looking indicator, housing starts, lost ground in September, slipping 2.7 percent, as unusually wet weather conditions across much of the country slowed the pace of home building.

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