U.S. Home Sales Surge

The sizzling U.S. housing market showed no signs of cooling in April as new data May 24 showed a 4.5% monthly jump in existing home sales to an all-time record. The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales rose to a record seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 7.18 million. The figure was higher than the 6.9 million expected on Wall Street and suggested that the U.S. housing market remains red hot despite concerns about a bubble.

"A new record is a bit unexpected, but so is the performance of mortgage interest rates which have been lower than forecast," said David Lereah, NAR's chief economist. "When we look at recent job gains, we see all the positive factors coming together to coincide with a powerful demographic demand for housing."

The median sales price rose 15.1% on a year-over-year basis to $206,000, the fastest year-over-year price gain in 25 years. Traditional 30-year mortgage rates have fallen to 5.71% in the latest week from 5.83% in April and 5.93% in March, which are among the lowest in decades. Interest rates have fallen further this week, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note used as a benchmark for mortgages dipping to 4.04%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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