Washington, D.C. (PPD) — The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported existing home sales in August hit the highest level since December 2006. The stronger-than-expected increase for the third consecutive month follows a record 24.7% gain in July.
Total existing-home sales — completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — gained 2.4% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.00 million. Sales as a whole rose year-over-year, up 10.5% from a year ago (5.43 million in August 2019).
Forecasts ranged from a low of 5,550,000 to a high of 6,440,000. The consensus forecast was 5,965,000.
“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, said. “Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types was $310,600 in August, up 11.4% from $278,800 in August 2019. The national price increase marks 102 straight months of year-over-year gains, and prices rose in every region.
Total housing inventory totaled 1.49 million units in August, down 0.7% from July and 18.6% from one year ago (1.83 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.1 months in July and down from the 4.0-month figure recorded in August 2019.
Existing Home Sales Regional Breakdown
Existing home sales rose in every region for the third straight month and median home prices rose by double-digit rates in each of the four from one year ago.
In the Northeast, existing home sales shot 13.8% higher to annual rate of 740,000, a 5.7% gain from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $349,500, an increase of 10.4% from August 2019.
Existing home sales rose 1.4% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1,410,000 in August, up 9.3% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $246,300, a 10.7% increase from August 2019.
In the South, existing home sales gained 0.8% to an annual rate of 2.60 million in August, up 13.0% from the same time one year ago. The median price in the South was $269,200, an increase of 12.3% from a year ago.
Existing home sales in the West ticked higher by 0.8% to an annual rate of 1,250,000 in August, a 9.6% increase from a year ago. The median price in the West was $456,100, up 11.8% from August 2019.