Tuesday, January 29, 2002

New-home sales set record in 2001




The Associated Press and The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes climbed to an all-time high last year even as the country was mired in a recession. Low mortgage rates helped to motivate Americans to buy.

        The Commerce Department reported Monday that a record 900,000 new single-family homes were sold in 2001. That surpassed the record of 886,000 set in 1998 and represented a 2.6-percent increase from 2000. No comparable Greater Cincinnati numbers are available.

        “The housing market was the shining star in a very dark constellation,” said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.

        For existing homes, sales reached an all-time high of 5.25 million in 2001, the National Association of Realtors said last week. Greater Cincinnati also reported a record year in 2001, with existing-home sales of 26,673, up 5.3 percent from 2000. Buyers were helped by incentives from home builders and low interest rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in 2001 was 6.97 percent, the lowest annual average rate since 1998.

        The rise in overall sales pushed up housing prices. For all of 2001, the median sales price increased to $174,100, a 3 percent advance from 2000.

       



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