Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Washington, D.C.–The sales of existing U.S. condominiums and co-ops gained some traction in August, according to the National Association of Realtors, but only as a modest uptick. Compared with July, condo sales were up 8.5 percent, to an annualized rate of 510,000 units.
Though better than in July—which may eventually be regarded as a trough—the August condo numbers were nevertheless weak. In August 2009, the annualized sales rate was 615,000 units, or about 17.1 percent ahead of this August. Moreover, except for July 2010, no month since this time last year has seen an annualized sales rate of less than 600,000 units. Nov. 2009 was the most robust month during the last year for condo sales, when the rate was 782,000 units on an annualized basis.
During all of 2009, buyers bought some 590,000 condo units nationwide. That was a little better than the panicky year 2008, when 563,000 units traded hands, but nowhere near 2007, when 713,000 units did.
The supply of condo units on the market was down in August, but not by that much. According to NAR, there was a 13.9 months’ supply in August, compared with 17.3 months in July. During the last year, the supply was as low as eight months in Nov. 2009, but usually between 10 and 12 months.
The slight improvement for condo and co-op sales in August mirrored the national residential property sales picture, notes the Realtors. Sales of single-family homes saw an uptick of 7.4 percent from July to August, with the annualized rate at 3.62 million houses in August. That isn’t an all-time low, but it was close, with August 2010’s rate 19.2 percent lower than the rate in August 2009. Even in 2008, some 4.35 million existing single-family houses sold, compared with 4.56 million during all of 2009.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, summed up the state of housing in a statement that noted that “the housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit. Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty.”