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Home Sales Up 20%: Detroit News

By Jaclyn Trop;

August year-over-year rise after July’s jump.

Local real estate experts are cautiously optimistic that home sales will rebound for the rest of the year, after a report Monday that Metro Detroit home sales rose nearly 20 percent in August from the same month of 2010.

It was the second consecutive month an increase was posted.

Sales in the region, which includes the tri-county area plus Livingston County, grew 19.4 percent over last year, and the median sale price rose 14.3 percent to $80,000, said Realcomp II Ltd., a Farmington Hills real estate information company.

Metro Detroit home sales were sluggish for the first half of the year until July’s 9.6 percent increase. Rock-bottom prices and low interest rates account for the turnaround, said Realcomp CEO Karen Kage.

“It’s a nice, slow, steady increase,” Kage said. “Not like the big rush we had five years ago” before the market collapsed.

A boost in consumer confidence is behind the activity, said Cindy Kahn, a broker with SKBK Sotheby’s International Realty in Birmingham. After sitting on the sidelines for months or years, house hunters are taking advantage of the area’s low prices and all-time lows in 15-year fixed mortgage rates, she said.

Pending sales that are expected to close during the next 60 days are also up and likely to carry the sales momentum into September and October, Kage said.

Sales for Macomb and Wayne counties rose 14.8 percent and 12.5 percent in August, respectively, while Oakland County’s sales soared nearly 30 percent. The median price rose 7.1 percent in Macomb County, 8.8 percent in Oakland County and 11.1 percent in Wayne County.

The surge was driven by a 35.6 percent sales increase in nonforeclosed homes and condominiums with median prices rising 14.3 percent. By contrast, the number of foreclosure sales dropped 2.2 percent, while the median price on a foreclosure sale fell 1.4 percent to $36,130.

More than 40 percent of the 6,350 home sales closed in August in Realcomp’s 10-county survey that includes St. Clair and Tuscola were cash sales.

The number of homes Kahn has sold for $1 million or more is also on the rise, she added. “Now you can get into a neighborhood that three, five, six years ago you couldn’t touch.”

From The Detroit News

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