The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing-home sales fell for the second straight month in May. Total existing-home sales, — completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — fell 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.43 million in May.
That’s off a downwardly revised 5.45 million in April. With last month’s decline, sales are now 3.0% below a year ago and have fallen year-over-year for three straight months.
“Closings were down in a majority of the country last month and declined on an annual basis in each major region,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said. “Incredibly low supply continues to be the primary impediment to more sales, but there’s no question the combination of higher prices and mortgage rates are pinching the budgets of prospective buyers, and ultimately keeping some from reaching the market.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $264,800, an all-time high and up 4.9% from May 2017 ($252,500). May’s price increase marks the 75th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of May climbed 2.8% to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.1% lower than a year ago (1.97 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace (4.2 months a year ago).
Properties typically stayed on the market for 26 days in May, unchanged from April and down from 27 days a year ago. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.
“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season – as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading – was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand,” added Yun. “That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.”
Regional Existing-Home Sales
May existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 4.6% to an annual rate of 680,000, though are now 11.7% below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $275,900, down 1.8% from May 2017.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined by 2.3% to an annual rate of 1.26 million in May and are now 2.3% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $209,900, a gain of 4.2% from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South ticked down 0.4% to an annual rate of 2.32 million in May, and are unchanged from a year ago. The median price in the South was $233,100, rising 4.5% from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 0.8% to an annual rate of 1.17 million in May, and are 4.1% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $395,800, up 7.2% from May 2017.