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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-43
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeFebruary 23, 1999


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today issued a report showing that the American housing sector set a vigorous pace in 1998.

The report - U.S. Housing Market Conditions for the fourth quarter of 1998 - says housing market activity at the end of the year continued the record-setting pace of the first three quarters.

"The strong economy, balanced budget and homeownership programs created by President Clinton's policies have helped families around the country become homeowners and have created jobs throughout the housing industry," Cuomo said.

U.S. Housing Market Conditions brings together data from the housing, real estate and primary and secondary mortgage markets. HUD field economists collect data from housing organizations such as the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors®, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Other data come from HUD and the Commerce Department.

The report says that in 1998:

  • New home sales totaled 888,000, outstripping the previous record set in 1977 by 8%.

  • Existing home sales totaled 4,785,000 according to the National Association of Realtors, overturning the old record set in 1997 by nearly 14%.

  • Homeownership was enjoyed by a record 66.3% of American households, surpassing 1997's rate of 65.7%.

  • Interest rates averaged 7.12%, the lowest since 1970.

  • Housing permits totaled 1,603,000, the highest in 12 years.

  • Rental housing markets throughout the nation also showed big gains in apartment production and continued strong demand. Multifamily building permit activity increased in every region.

Regional market highlights for 1998 include:

  • Washington, DC metropolitan area home sales were up 26% over 1997 and sales in the District of Columbia were 50% higher than last year.

  • Sales of existing homes in California were up 13% -- a new record -- and Arizona and Nevada set new records for homebuilding.

  • In the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas of Texas, the rapid absorption of new units has been followed by big increases in multifamily permits, totaling over 22,000 units each for the year.

  • In Denver, multifamily building activity in 1998 set a record for the 1990s.

  • In the New York City metropolitan area multifamily building permit activity for the year was up 22% above a very strong 1997.

U.S. Housing Market conditions is available on the Internet at
(link no longer valid. Was http://www.huduser.org/publications/markets/ushmc/winter98/index.html)

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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