NAR: Existing Home Sales Up 1.9% in August, 2.6% Year-Over-Year
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported existing home sales rose 1.3% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, beating the consensus forecast for the second straight month. Overall existing home sales are now up 2.6% from a year ago.
The forecasts ranged from a low of 5.300 million to a high of 5.420 million. The consensus forecast was looking for 5.380 million.
“As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in August gained 4.7% year-over-year to $278,200, up from $265,600. The increase in August marks the 90th straight month of year-over-year gains for prices.
“Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up home prices,” Mr. Yun added. “Homebuilders need to ramp up new housing, as the failure to increase construction will put home prices in danger of increasing at a faster pace than income.”
Total housing inventory fell to 1.86 million, down from 1.90 million existing-homes available for sale in July and marking a 2.6% decrease from 1.91 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.2 months in July and from the 4.3-month supply recorded in August 2018.
Properties typically remained on the market for 31 days in August, up from 29 days in July and in August of 2018. Forty-nine percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
Regional Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales in the Northeast rose 7.6% to an annual rate of 710,000 and 1.4% year-over-year. The median price was $303,500, down 0.3% from August 2018.
In the Midwest, existing home sales gained 3.1% to an annual rate of 1.31 million, a gain of 2.3% from August 2018. The median price was $220,000, a 6.6% increase from a year ago.
Existing home sales in the South inched up 0.9% to an annual rate of 2.33 million in August and 3.6% from a year ago. The median price was $240,300, a gain of 5.4% from one year ago.
In the West, existing home sales fell 3.4% to an annual rate of 1.14 million in August, though they’re still 1.8% higher than a year ago. The median price was $415,900, up 5.7% from August 2018.