NAR: September existing-home sales surge

Existing-home sales were up in September.
Existing-home sales were up in September.
Builders using construction equipment got further indication the housing market is on the mend, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors.

The NAR said existing-home sales climbed 10 percent in September when compared to August. The annual adjusted rate of 4.53 million, however, was still 19.1 percent lower than was seen during the ninth month of last year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said while a recovery in the housing market has seen its beginning, improvements may be choppy, depending on how the foreclosure moratorium pans out.

"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," Yun said.

Housing sales in September 2009 were bolstered by consumers trying to take advantage of the government's tax credit for first-time homebuyers. It was originally slated to end November 30, but Congress expanded and extended to the end of April 2010.

Further improvements in the housing market will depend on consumers finding work. The unemployment rate in September stayed steady at 9.6 percent.