Existing-home sales rose again in September, affirming that a sales recovery has begun, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.

Nationally, the number jumped 10 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.53 million. In the West, the number was 1.05 million, up 5 percent over August. Both numbers, however, remain well off September 2009 totals, 19.1 percent nationally, and 16.7 percent in the West.

NAR™s report did not break down state or metro numbers, but Arizona State University Oct. 14 reported 4,900 home resales in the Phoenix area in September, up by about 100 for the month, but down from more than 6,100 in September of last year.

Jay Butler, associate professor of real estate, said the increase was due to the end of the selling season as summer vacations wrap up and children return to school. He also noted September set a record with foreclosures accounting for 46 percent of transactions.

The evolving foreclosure process is heightening uncertainty across the county, he said at the time. œThe potential impact could include foreclosure moratoriums, the availability of title insurance, the willingness of people to purchase foreclosed properties, and the public perception and acceptance of the entire home-financing process. In confronting potential uncertainty, the level of activity and prices could even be lower than generally expected as people await the review and resolution of the problems associated with the foreclosure process.

Still, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the housing market is in the early stages of recovery nationally. œA housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions, he said.

The Midwest experienced the biggest jump in existing home sales in September at 14.5 percent, but remains 26.4 percent below a year ago.

The median price in the West was $213,600, 4.9 percent lower than September 2009, but higher than all other U.S. regions, except the Northeast at $239,200.

Phoenix Business Journal

Date: Monday, October 25, 2010, 1:29pm MST – Last Modified: Monday, October 25, 2010, 4:43pm MST

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