U.S. Home sales show progress in the 4th quarter- By: Paul Escobedo

Description : Home sales showed a definite rise in the last quarter of 2009. An estimated 45% of U.S. metropolitan cities home sales rose compared to one year prior. The final numbers have given market watchdogs something to talk about. For the past 24 months almost all reports on the housing market have had a dooms day connotations. Skeptics say they are not so easily swayed by an up-rise in numbers that are being bolstered by federal assistance programs.

Economy optimists are touting a 27.2% increase in existing home sales from the 4th quarter of 2008 as proof positive that the housing market is on the mend. The national average of existing home sales leveled out at 6.03 million homes sold. These numbers are being reported by The National Association of Realtors.

Currently the national median price for an existing home is $172,900. This is still a 4.1% drop below the median price that was reported for the 4th quarter of 2008. The positive side to this drop is that the percentage of loss per quarter has begun to not only slow its rate of decline, but it appears that it has reached a leveling out point. Investors, buyers, and the country as a whole have been waiting with baited breath for the market to reach rock bottom and show early signs of possible recovery statistics.

Freddie Mac is reporting that the national average for 30 year fixed rate mortgages has once again fallen below 5.0% to 4.97% in the second week of February 2010. The hope of economists is that this rate will remain below the 5.0% mark for the remaining 3 quarters of 2010. The housing market is expected to be extremely volatile once the federal tax credit program expires in April.

The second quarter will be watched closely for major fluctuations in existing home sales numbers. The amount of foreclosure fillings for the month of January has already increased 15% to 315,716. This increase was expected due to the rush of property owners trying to get their properties to market before the tax expiration deadline. Additional increases are expected for the remaining part of the 1st quarter.

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