Nation/World The Salina Journal Tuesday, January 28,1986 Page 5 Home sales register big gain in '85 WASHINGTON (AP) - Sales of existing homes surged 12.1 percent last year, hitting their highest level since 1979, and housing industry analysts predicted that 1986 would be an even better year. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that 3.22 million existing single-family homes were sold last year, the first 3-million-plus sales year since 1979. Analysts credited the big upturn in sales to falling mortgage rates and a big pool of homeowners seeking to trade up to larger homes. With mortgage rates expected to continue falling this year, many economists predicted 1986 would be another good year for sales. "The time is right to buy a house," said Clark Wallace, president of the Realtors group. "Interest rates are down to six-year lows and home prices are rising only modestly." : The survey showed that the median • sales price for an existing home climbed to $74,800 in December, up 3,7 percent from December 1984. This advance was in line with the 3.8 percent rise in consumer prices last year. The big increase in sales last year followed a 5.5 percent rise in 1984, when 2.87 million existing homes were sold. It was the best showing since 3.83 million homes were sold in 1979. Most of the increase was attributed to steady declines in mortgage rates • as both fixed-rate and adjustable rate mortgages have fallen by 1.5 percentage points over the past year. David Wyss, an economist with .Data Resources Inc., said fixed-rate mortgages average about 10.75 percent. He predicted they would fall to 10.25 percent by summer, with scattered areas of the country enjoying rates in single digits once again. For December, existing home sales rose 3.2 percent above the November level of activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.53 million units. The Northeast, which has enjoyed a revival in sales of both new and existing homes, led all regions of the country last year with a 21.8 percent increase to a record level of 622,000 homes sold. The Midwest saw sales rise 14.8 percent to 867,000 units, followed by a 9.2 percent gain in the South to 1.17 million units and a 4.7 percent rise in the West to 554,000 units for the entire year. The gains put the South and . Midwest at their highest sales level since the 1979 boom, while the West had its best sales year since 1980. 114Ifi NISlAN CINTBAL jf viSH COMMITTEE BR>" .'< ZONE Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres stands beside the Jewish memorial at Bergen-Belsen. Peres visits concentration camp BERGEN, West Germany (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, teary-eyed and choked with emotion, placed wreaths Monday at memorials to Jewish Holocaust victims on the site of the Nazi's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. "This is a terrible place," Peres told reporters. "There are screams of horror on every side. I pray for the memory of the millions and also for peace." One of the camp's estimated 50,000 victims was Anne Frank, the 14-year-old German Jewish girl whose diaries were published after the war. The visit to the desolate, wind-swept camp site came on the second day of Peres" trip to West Germany. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin also visited Bergen-Belsen in 1975, while he was in office. Several hundred policeman ringed the camp and security helicopters flew overhead as Peres placed a wreath at a memorial erected by Jews and listened to cantor Julius Stolberg of Hanover chant a prayer of mourning. Peres then placed another wreath at an obelisk- shaped memorial. He wiped his face with a handkerchief after visiting the mound-shaped mass graves for thousands of Jewish dead. The hour-long solemn ceremony at the camp was disturbed by the sound of NATO machine-gun and cannon shooting practice from a base 1% miles away. Walesa's trial scheduled for Feb. 11 WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Solidarity leader Lech Walesa was notified Monday that he will go on trial Feb. 11 in Gdansk on charges of slandering state election officials by allegedly releasing false voter turnout figures, his wife said. Walesa, 42, winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, has not been brought to trial by the Communist government since he led the August 1980 labor upheaval that led to the birth of the now-outlawed Solidarity free trade union. Walesa's wife, Danuta, said the trial was set for Feb. 11-18 at the Gdansk provincial court. The government alleges that Walesa slandered election officials by releasing voter turnout figures for the Oct. 13 parliamentary elections lower than the official count. The government said then the election turnout was nearly 79 percent. But Solidarity, which had called for a voter boycott, said the figure was about 67 percent. Men's Wear CLOSED TODAY FOR INVENTORY AND FINAL MARKDOWNS DOORS OPEN TOMORROW JAN. 29 — 9 A.M. SHARP FOR OUR LAST 10 DAYS 112N. SANTA FE SALINA Men's Wear Administration halts grants to small cities WASHINGTON (AP) - The Reagan administration on Monday ordered a halt to approximately $200 million in congressionally approved spending for urban development. Alfred C. Moran, assistant secretary for community planning and development of the Department of Housing and Urban Development told local HUD officials in a letter, "Your staff should immediately return any new proposals received during January for the March 1986 small-cities round'' of grants. The Urban Development Action Grants program was given $330 million to spend this fiscal year. HUD announced $41.5 million in grants for small cities in December and will announce $80 million to $90 million in funds for large cities before the end of January, Moran said. Spending for those programs is not affected by the order, HUD officials said. Moran said the rest of the new spending for 1986 has been put off indefinitely. Randy Arndt, spokesman for the National League of Cities, said the move is intended as a cancellation of the program, not just a deferral. "This is not a deferral with the intention to spend next year. This is a deferral with the intention to cancel next year," he said. fe COPPER Prices starting at Jewelry Prices starting at $ 5.00 2760 Centennial Road The future is no time for surprises, •I ^S£s~^ Today you may look at your Individual Retirement Account as simply an investment. But someday it will be your income. 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