The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing home sales declined for the fourth straight month in July to the slowest pace in more than 2 years. The steady and solid gains in home prices — even coupled with low inventory — have reduced demand.
“Led by a notable decrease in closings in the Northeast, existing home sales trailed off again last month, sliding to their slowest pace since February 2016 at 5.21 million,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said. “Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $269,600, a gain of 4.5% from July 2017 ($258,100). The price increase for July marks the 77th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of the month was down 0.5% to 1.92 million existing homes available for sale. That’s unchanged from a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, also unchanged from a year ago.
Properties typically stayed on the market for 27 days in July, up from 26 days in June but down from 30 days a year ago. Fifty-five percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.
“Listings continue to go under contract in under month, which highlights the feedback from Realtors® that buyers are swiftly snatching up moderately-priced properties,” said Yun. “Existing supply is still not at a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to meet demand.”
Existing home sales in the Northeast — historically, the weak region — tumbled 8.3% to an annual rate of 660,000. They are 1.5% below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $309,700, which is up 6.8% from July 2017.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.25 million in July, and are 0.8% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $210,500, up 2.5% from a year ago.
Existing home sales in the South ticked down 0.4% to an annual rate of 2.24 million in July, and are 0.4% lower than a year ago. The median price in the South was $233,400, a gain of 2.7% from a year ago.
In the West, existing home sales increased 4.4% to an annual rate of 1.19 million in July, but are still 4.0% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $392,700, a gain of 5.1% from July 2017.