Tuesday, January 24, 2012 / by Nathan Clark
Sales of existing homes in the United States closed 2011 on a strong note, bringing the year’s sales volume up from the year before.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 4.6 million homes were sold in December, up 5 percent from November and 3.6 percent ahead of the total for December of 2010.
December marked the third consecutive month of increasing sales, and the final quarter of the year helped pull 2011 ahead of 2010 in total sales volume by 1.7 percent, according to the NAR.
Low interest rates and attractive prices continue to fuel sales. The median home price nationwide dipped to $164,500 in December, down 2.5 percent from the same month last year and putting 2011 median prices at 3.9 percent down from the year before.
Foreclosures made up 21 percent of all December sales, according to the NAR, and short sales accounted for 12 percent of sales volume. Foreclosures sold at a bigger discount in 2011 than 2010, representing prices an average 22-percent below market value compared to 20 percent the year before. Short sales represent an average discount of about 13 percent off market value, according to the NAR’s figures.