Existing Home Sales Increase

Existing home sales in August increased 7.8% from July, and were up 9.3% from the same period a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported August 2012 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.82 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. That compares to 4.47 million units in July and 4.41 million units during the same period a year ago.

The August 2012 level of single-family existing sales increased to a seasonally adjusted 4.30 million sales, up 8.0% from 3.98 million sales in July, and up 10.0% from 3.91 million units during the same month a year ago. Seasonally adjusted condominium and co-op sales reached 520,000 units in August 2012, up 6.1% from the July level of 490,000 units, and up 4.0% from 500,000 units a year ago.   

The total housing inventory at the end of August increased 2.9% from the previous month to 2.47 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales rate, the August 2012 inventory represents a 6.1-month supply which is down from a 6.4-month supply in July, and very much improved from the 8.2-month supply of homes a year ago. NAR reported 22% of August 2012 sales were distressed, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was down from 24% in July, and down from 31% a year ago. The median sales price for existing homes of all types in August decreased to $187,400 from $187,800 in July, but was up 9.5% from $171,200 during the same period a year ago.

August 2012 all cash sales remained at 27% of transactions, down from 29% during August a year ago. Investors accounted for 18% of August 2012 home sales, up from 16% in July and down from 22% for the same period a year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 31% of August 2012 sales, down from 34% in July and 32% for the same period a year ago.   

The July 2012 Pending Home Sales Index increased 2.4%.  So it was expected that existing home sales would increase in August. Next month’s existing sales are expected to remain consistent with the pattern between existing home sales and the Pending Home Sales Index



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