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After three consecutive months of increases, sales of existing homes slightly declined in August, this despite a reduction in prices and an uptick in sales to first–time buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Also according to NAR, none of the four major regions saw sales increases in August.
Total existing–home sales (including single–family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co–ops), dropped 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.31 million in August from a slight downward revision of 5.58 million in July. Notwithstanding August’s decline, sales have grown year–over–year for 11 consecutive months and now sit 6.2 percent above a year ago (5.00 million).
NAR’s chief economist noted that home sales in August lost some momentum. Economist Lawrence Yun said, “Sales activity was down in many parts of the country last month — especially in the South and West — as the persistent summer theme of tight inventory levels likely deterred some buyers.” Yun also noted, “The good news for the housing market is that price appreciation the last two months has started to moderate from the unhealthier rate of growth seen earlier this year.”
Key Housing Data Takeaways
The median existing–home price (for all housing types) in August was $228,700, which is 4.7 percent higher than August 2014 ($218,400). August’s price increase marks the 42nd consecutive month of year–over–year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of August grew 1.3 percent to 2.29 million existing homes, which is 1.7 percent lower than a year ago (2.33 million).
Unsold inventory is at a 5.2–month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.9 months in July.
August’s share of sales to first–time buyers grew to 32 percent, up from 28 percent in July and matching the year’s highest share set in May. A year ago, first–time buyers were 29 percent of all buyers.