On the up
Although existing home sales jumped in the South and West, national numbers were weighed down (falling 1.3 percent) by the losses in the Northeast and Midwest in July, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Home prices continue to rise, and bidding wars are breaking out in parts of America with listings in July typically going under contract in under 30 days.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun says the second half of the year got off on a somewhat sour note as existing sales in July inched backward.
“Buyer interest in most of the country has held up strongly this summer and homes are selling fast, but the negative effect of not enough inventory to choose from and its pressure on overall affordability put the brakes on what should’ve been a higher sales pace,” he said.
“Contract activity has mostly trended downward since February and ultimately put a large dent on closings last month,” Dr. Yun concluded.
Not a lot to give
Inventory levels remained tight, falling another 1.0 percent in July and is now 9.0 percent lower than this time last year. This marks the 26th consecutive month of declining inventory.
Meanwhile, home prices are up for the 65th consecutive month, rising 6.2 percent in the last year to $258,300.
“Home prices are still rising above incomes and way too fast in many markets,” said Yun.
He added that “Realtors® continue to say prospective buyers are frustrated by how quickly prices are rising for the minimal selection of homes that fit buyers’ budget and wish list.”
All over the place
July existing-home sales in the Northeast dropped 14.5 percent to an annual rate of 650,000, and are now 1.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $290,000, which is 4.1 percent above July 2016.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 5.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in July, and are now 1.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $205,400, up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South rose 2.2 percent to an annual rate of 2.28 million in July, and are now 3.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $227,700, up 6.7 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West jumped 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.26 million in July, and are 5.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $373,000, up 7.6 percent from July 2016.