American home sales rose to 5-year high in 2012
U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose in 2012 to their highest level in five years, spurred by record-low mortgage rates and steady hiring. The National Association of Realtors reports that sales reached 4.65 million last year. That's up 9.2% from 2011 and the most since 2007. Sales in 2012 were still below the roughly 5.5 million that are indicative of a healthy market. The December sales pace dipped to 4.94 million, down from 4.99 million in November; November's figure was revised lower from an earlier estimate but was still the highest in three years. The supply of available homes is shrinking as sales rise, which in turn pushes up prices. The inventory of homes for sale dropped to 1.82 million in December, the lowest in 12 years. Overall, the housing market appears to be recovering, and most analysts expect that recovery to continue this year. In the eight-parish Baton Rouge metro area, home sales ended 2012 up 15% over 2011 totals, and Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors President Pat Wattam expects 2013 results to be even better. Read that story from Daily Report here.
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A cautious comeback