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Possible good news for real estate as existing home sales surge

As the country's economy continues on a sluggish pace toward recovery, many Americans, including those in South Florida, are looking for any positive sign pointing toward better conditions. The unemployment rate remains stagnant, and hopes of a swift end to the recent recession appear to be waning. However, a recent report offered one ray of hope for the housing market, as real estate transactions were reportedly up sharply in May.

The National Association of Realtors has indicated that the number of people who signed a contract to buy an existing home was up approximately 6 percent in May from the numbers in April. The uptick in sales appears to have been spearheaded in the western portion of the country, where prospective buyers are looking for properties to fix up as rental units.

The spring and summer months have typically been the best months for real estate sales, and it appears that trend will continue in 2012. Some have forecast that sales could show an increase of 10 percent from last year's numbers, with many buyers looking to take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates.

Reports have noted that real estate inventory is beginning to decline throughout the country, probably due to a slowdown in the construction of new homes. Some observers are cautioning that prices may rise as the inventory decreases, so anyone looking to get a great deal on a real estate sale might want to look with a bit more urgency than they have in the past several years. Still, there are many who probably wouldn't do too much complaining if the housing market actually did begin to bounce back throughout the entire country, instead of just in small hot areas like Broward County.

Source: CNBC, "Strong Housing Numbers, Still Slow Recovery," Diana Olick, June 27, 2012

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