Existing Home Sales Rise 2.9% for 1988
Sales of existing single-family homes last year hit their highest level since 1979 as buyers shopped in lower price ranges rather than leave the market when costs rose, a real estate trade group said Wednesday.
The National Assn. of Realtors said 3.63 million homes were sold in 1988, up 2.9% from 1987 when 3.53 million homes had been sold. It was the highest sales volume since 3.83 million homes were sold in 1979.
Sales shot up 11.4% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million units. It was the highest month-to-month increase since an 11.6% rise in April, 1986.
“For the most part, people seem to be buying less expensive homes,” said Ira Gribin, president of the realtors group. “The demand is there. People still appear to be going for the most they can afford. They just can’t afford as much.”
Home prices slipped slightly to $87,700 in December, compared to a median sales price of $88,000 in November. Prices averaged $89,100 for all of 1988, a 4.1% increase.