NEW YORK — Real estate sales rose 8.7% in January and are up 13.4% in February compared with the same month last year, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday.
The numbers are the first gain in five months.
The number of homes sold was up 14.7%.
The report is based on data from the National Assn.
of Realty Investment Professionals and includes sales in the Los Angeles area.
The increase comes despite the economic slowdown and an influx of refugees from the Middle East.
The Los Angeles-based association said sales of all types of homes, condos and apartments rose in January.
The group reported that sales of new homes increased by 4.4%, from 4,923 to 4,960 units.
The total number of properties sold was 6,849, up 5.7%, from 6,917 to 6,892 units.
Sales of houses increased by 1.7 percent, from 5,926 to 5,999 units.
“It’s been a very positive year for homebuyers,” said Robert Bovard, president of the association’s Los Angeles office.
“We see a continuation of that, and the recovery in sales has been strong.
We’ve seen more sellers than we’ve seen buyers.”
Sales of condos rose by 3.3% from January to February, up from 2,873 to 2,938 units.
It was the third straight month that condos were up.
“Sales have been rising as the economy is strengthening, and they’re also benefiting from an increase in buyers,” said Bovart.
In January, the association reported sales of condominiums increased by 6.5%.
In February, they rose by 6%.
The increase is not yet a record, but it was the highest in four months.
“The increase in sales is an indication that people are really looking at buying homes,” Bovarsh said.
Sales in the area increased 5.6% last month, up 12.4%.
Sales in Los Angeles, which is home to the nation’s biggest concentration of condo sales, rose by 5.5% last year.
In February alone, more than 4,000 condos were sold in the city.
The national association has about 4,500 members.
The housing market in the region is in a free fall and the recession has left many Americans out of work.
The region was hit hard by the housing collapse in the mid-2000s, when millions of people lost their homes and millions more lost their jobs.