Washington, D.C. (PPD) — The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported existing home sales soared again in September, easily beating the forecast and gaining for the fourth straight month. While all four major regions posted month-over-month and year-over-year gains, the Northeast saw the highest climb in both.
Total existing-home sales — completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — increased 9.4% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million. That surpasses the surge in August, when sales hit the highest level since December 2006, and a record 24.7% gain in July.
Forecasts ranged from a low of 5.8 million to a high of 6.4 million. The consensus forecast was 6.2 million. Year-over-year, sales are up 20.9% from a year ago (5.41 million in September 2019).
“Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR said. “I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types came in at $311,800, up 14.8% from September 2019 ($271,500), and prices rose in every region. The national price increase in September marks 103 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory totaled 1.47 million units, down 1.3% from August and down 19.2% from one year ago (1.82 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.0 months in August and from the 4.0-month supply in September 2019.
“There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low,” Yun said. “To their credit, we have seen some homebuilders move to ramp up supply, but a need for even more production still exists.”
Existing Home Sales By Region
Home sales have grown in every region for four straight months, Median home prices rose at double-digit rates in each of the four major regions year-over-year.
In the Northeast, existing home sales jump 16.2% to an annual rate of 860,000, a 22.9% increase from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $354,600, up 17.8% from September 2019.
In the Midwest, existing home sales rose 7.1% to an annual rate of 1,510,000 in September, up 19.8% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $243,100, a gain of 14.8% from September 2019.
Existing home sales in the South gained 8.5% to an annual rate of 2.80 million, up 22.3% from one year ago. The median price in the South was $266,900, a gain of 13.0% from a year ago.
In the West, existing home sales rose 9.6% to an annual rate of 1,370,000 in September, an increase of 18.1% from a year ago. The median price in the West was $470,800, up 17.1% from September 2019.
Housing Primed to Lead Economic Recovery
As People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) recently reported, indicators widely show the U.S. housing market is “booming”, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and expectations. Experts now foresee housing leading the economic recovery and have raised growth forecasts for the sector.
The NAHB Housing Market Index (HMI) reported builder confidence unexpectedly rose another 2 points to 85 in October, smashing the all-time high and beating the consensus forecast.
New residential construction statistics for housing starts and building permits again beat forecasts in September, defying the lingering effects due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Building permits rose 5.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,553,000 and are 8.1% higher year-over-year. Housing starts rose 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,415,000, and are now 11.1% year-over-year.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported pending home sales hit an all-time high in August, surging nearly three times the consensus forecast by 8.8%. That marked the fourth straight month of solid gains.
New home sales in August — new residential sales statistics — hit the highest level since December 2006. The stronger-than-expected increase for the third consecutive month followed a record 24.7% gain in July.