Housing market full of ups, downs in third quarter

Real Estate Watch

November 21, 1999

The housing market was full of ups and downs in the third quarter as existing-home sales in most states were on the rise, while construction of new homes slowed across the country during the same period.

The National Association of Realtors reports that total sales of existing homes rose in 38 states and the District of Columbia in the quarter, with the strongest increase coming in Vermont.

Maryland was among nine states that recorded at least a double-digit increase in the third-quarter resale rate compared with 1998.

But the Meyers Group, a Washington firm that tracks new-home sales, found that rising mortgage rates in the third quarter slowed building activity nationwide, with single-family housing permits up 7 percent and multifamily permits down 2 percent over last year.

"We are almost certainly going to break 1998's record for both single-family and total permits," said John Burns, senior managing director with Meyers Group. "However, because mortgage rates have increased, we can expect to see new-homes sales flattening out over the next quarter."

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