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Sales of Existing Homes Decline in N.C. for Second Straight Quarter

Posted November 21, 2007

— Sales of existing homes fell for the second straight quarter in North Carolina, but the resale value of homes in the Durham and Raleigh-Cary metro areas continued to increase, according to a real estate trade group.

Across North Carolina, existing home sales dipped to 202,800 in the third quarter ending Sept. 30, according to the National Association of Realtors. That figure was down from 231,200 in the second quarter and 244,000 in the first quarter of the year.

However, home values in Raleigh-Cary increased slightly to $229,500 in the third quarter compared to $225,100 in the second quarter. Resale values have increased 7.5 percent over the past year.

In Durham, home resale prices to $186,900 in the third quarter from $180.100 in the second quarter.

Nationally, sales of existing homes fell in 47 states during the July-September quarter as the housing market's slump worsened.

The figures from the National Association of Realtors underscore the severity of the housing market's slump, which has economists increasingly pessimistic about the economic outlook.

Vermont was the lone state to show a sales increase. Existing home sales there rose 0.8 percent from the same quarter a year ago. No sales figures were available for Idaho and New Hampshire.

The Realtors though saw a silver lining in the data, noting that home prices rose in 93 of the 150 metropolitan areas surveyed.

Yet big price drops plagued formerly booming parts of the country. Median prices fell by more than 10 percent in parts of Florida and California compared with the third quarter of last year.

Trade group officials emphasize the real estate market is not a national one, and conditions vary - sometimes dramatically - from market to market.

"Some metro areas are hot while others are experiencing localized problems," Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist, said in a statement. "Home prices in the vast midsection of America, from the Appalachians to the Rockies, are affordable and, perhaps, even undervalued.

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