Business

Oct. home sales down 35.7% from '09

Kansas home sales fell 35.7 percent in October from 2009, a figure officials say is skewed by homebuyer tax credits that drove up the number of late 2009 sales.

Sales totaled 1,896 units in October, down from 2,949 units in October 2009, according to figures from the Kansas Association of Realtors. In comparison, sales on a national level decreased 25.9 percent for the month.

"The decline in sales compared to last year is misleading because the 2009 figure was beginning to reflect the effects of the homebuyer tax credit," said Brian Jones, KAR president and broker/owner of Jones Heritage Realtors in Pittsburg.

"We anticipated the homebuyer tax credit program... would move the bulk of the home purchase activity into the first part of the year, and that appears to be coming true."

Locally, the sales downturn has been forecast for several months by brokers: Most of Wichita's sales were loaded by the tax credit into the first four months of the year, and expectations are minimal for November and December.

"Not a surprise at all," said Gary Walker, residential general manager of J.P. Weigand & Sons, the city's biggest residential brokerage.

The statewide average sale price last month was $157,641, up from $153,881 a year ago.

The national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.23 percent in October from 4.35 percent in September.

The rate was 4.95 percent in October 2009.

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