POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 24, 2010
WASHINGTON » This year's home sales are shaping up to be as dismal as last year, despite cheap home prices and mortgage rates that have fallen to the lowest levels in decades.
Sales of previously occupied homes rose last month, but not enough to keep this summer from being the slowest for home sales in more than a decade. And the year is not expected to finish much better.
About 3.4 million previously occupied homes have been sold in the U.S. through August. Most experts expect roughly 5 million to be sold through the entire year. That would be in line with last year's totals and just above sales for 2008, the worst since 1997.
Sales of previously occupied homes did increase 7.6 percent in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday.
But July's sales were the worst in a 15 years, making August the second worst since 1997.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage this week was unchanged at 4.37 percent. Earlier this month, the rate dipped to 4.32 percent, the lowest level on records dating back to 1971.