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Tue, Feb. 19
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Editorial: Uptick in home sales a ray of hope

Depending on the level of risk in the stock market, some people continue to view their 401(k) retirement fund as a 101(k) or a 201(k). In this economy, on the other hand, some experts also have declared that the recession is over.

The word on the street, however, is that the struggles will not be over until certain indicators rebound. One such gauge is unemployment, which continues to hover just under 10 percent - depending on how you calculate it. Fortunately, another meter on the economic engine that is showing signs of improvement is one that many say caused the economic slide - real estate.

This past week, in case you missed it, The Daily Courier published a story in the Real Estate section showing that home sales rose more than 90 percent from April 2009 to April 2010, according to figures from the Prescott Area Association of Realtors. PAAR numbers show Realtors sold 128 existing homes in April 2009 and 244 this past April, making for a 91 percent increase.

The reason? PAAR President Paula A. Smith, who is a Realtor, said eight of her clients took advantage of the tax credits that expired at the end of the month. Prospective buyers had to sign contracts no later than April 30 to benefit from the $8,000 first-time buyer or the $6,500 repeat homebuyer credits. Buyers have to complete their purchase by the end of June to qualify for the credits.

Like we said on Thursday, one month does not make for a complete turnaround in the housing sector, but good news is welcome in today's economy. And, the National Association of Realtors - showing that buyers ran to close contracts before the tax credit expired, pushing April sales to a five-month high - the outlook for the rest of the year is positive.

We'll take the good news anyway we can get it, folks.

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