Real estate sales are mixed nationally for the 4th quarter of 2010. The reality is that short-sales and foreclosures continue to pull the average home prices lower. Home foreclosures and tighter FHA loan requirements have not helped bolster property values. We suggest compare rates and terms with house lenders that have a reputation for affordable financing.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement that he was encouraged by the quarterly rise in sales. “Home sales … are helping to absorb the inventory, including many distressed properties. Even with foreclosures continuing to enter the inventory pipeline, they’ve been selling well and housing supplies have trended down,” Yun stated. “A recovery to normalcy requires steady trimming of the inventories.” Yun projected about 150,000 to 200,000 jobs will be added to the economy this year from an expected 300,000 additional home sales in 2011, the report said. “An improving housing market and job growth will go hand in hand. The housing recovery will mean faster job growth,” Yun added.

Virginia was the only state to see a quarterly drop in sales, down 5.4%, and Virginia mortgage rates also fell to record lows. Home sales in Washington, D.C., remained unchanged from the third quarter. Compared to fourth-quarter 2009, however, only Idaho saw a yearly rise in sales: up 7.3 %. Some foreclosure-ridden states — Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California home sales saw the smallest drops in sales during that time. Distressed sales made up 34% of all sales in the fourth quarter, up only slightly from 32 % in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Midwest experienced the biggest estimated overall drop in sales in 2010 compared to 2009: 7.5%, to a rate of 1.08 million. The Northeast saw a drop of 4.8%, to 817,000. The West saw a decline of 4.7%, to 1.15 million. The South saw the smallest decrease, down 2.8%, to 1.86 million.

10 states to see biggest decreases in sales from 2009 to 2010:

State 2009 sales rate 2010 sales rate

% change

South Dakota 17.4 14.2

-18.4%

Minnesota 107.4 89.7

-16.5%

Delaware 12.6 10.9

-13.5%

Oklahoma 83.5 72.3

-13.4%

Rhode Island 15.4 13.6

-11.7%

Missouri 105.9 94.6

-10.7%

Michigan 167.1 149.6

-10.5%

Pennsylvania 176.5 160.3

-9.2%

Utah 31.1 28.5

-8.4%

Kansas 56.5 51.8

-8.3%