by Rob Wicker
Existing home sales rose by 7.6% in August, according to the NAR. For the real estate industry, this was the second positive signal this week. The Commerce Department reported earlier in the week that housing starts rose by 10.5% in August.
Home sales were up in all regions of the country, with the West posting the largest gain in sales at 13.8%. Also, the median price for an existing home rose slightly to $178,600.
On the downside, positive news in housing was tempered by a rise in unemployment claims. Economists point to unemployment and consumer confidence as two areas that need to strengthen for the housing market to truly rebound. Chief NAR economist Lawrence Yun , as reported by the Wall Street Journal, said that he still expects the housing recovery to be slow and gradual.
Still, an increase in existing home sales and a rise in home prices for the month of August must be viewed as good news by those of us in the real estate industry.