The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing home sales gained 2.5% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.42 million, beating the consensus forecast. The forecasts ranged from 5.25 million to 5.5 million, with the consensus coming in at 5.385 million.
“Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. However, he added that the supply of affordable housing is severely low. “The shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types came in at $280,800 in July, a gain of 4.3% from July 2018 ($269,300). That price increase marks the 89th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory fell to 1.89 million in July from 1.92 million in June. Inventory is down 1.6% from 1.92 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from the 4.4 month-supply recorded last month and from the 4.3-month supply in July of 2018.
Properties typically remained on the market for 29 days, up from 27 days in June and from 27 days in July 2018. Fifty-one percent (51%) of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.