Existing-home sales continued to recover in the first quarter with gains recorded in 49 states and the District of Columbia, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, rose 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.14 million in the first quarter from 4.75 million in the fourth quarter, and are only 0.8 percent below a 5.18 million pace during the same period in 2010.
The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6 percent from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Homes are now very affordable for most Americans.
Distressed homes, typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent, accounted for 39 percent of first quarter sales, up from 36 percent a year earlier.
The share of all-cash home purchases rose to 33 percent in the first quarter from 27 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Investors accounted for 21 percent of first quarter transactions, up from 18 percent a year ago. Investors often hire inspectors, when they buy. Then home inspectors are hired again when the investor sells the home.
Regionally: Northeast: Existing-home sales increased 0.8 percent in the first quarter to 800,000.
Midwest: Existing-home sales increased 7.9 percent in the first quarter to 1.09 million.
South: Existing-home sales increased 8.5 percent in the first quarter to 1.96 million.
West: Existing-home sales increased 13.5 percent in the first quarter to 1.29 million.
Good news for inspectors all the way around.