Monday, May 31, 2010

Tax Deal Fuels New-Home Sales

According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of homes soared last month with buyers rushing to take advantage of the expiring federal tax credit. On Wednesday the Commerce Department announced that sales of “new single-family homes rose 14.8% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000.”

Demand for new homes had also surged in March, when sales climbed 29.9% from the prior month. Sales in April were 47.8% higher than a year earlier.

The recent surge was likely the result of expiring government incentives, which provided an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers and a $6,500 credit for repeat homeowners. Contracts for those homes had to be signed by April 30. Buyers have to complete purchases by June 30.

The housing market is stabilizing after both sales and prices plummeted during the recession. Sales of existing homes, a far bigger number than newly built homes, jumped 7.6% in April, the National Association of Realtors said earlier this week.

Construction of new homes also is picking up. Starts for single-family homes rose 10.2% in April from March, the fourth-straight monthly rise, Commerce said earlier this month.

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