Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 1.1% in June to the highest level since February 2007, as first-time buyers grabbed a 33% share, the best performance in four years. June existing sales are up 3.0% from the same month a year ago. Total existing home sales in June increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.57 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from a downwardly revised 5.51 million units in May.
June existing sales increased in the Midwest and West by 3.8% and 1.7% respectively. The South remained unchanged from last month, and sales in the Northeast decreased by 1.3%. Year-over-year, the Northeast, Midwest and South increased 5.6%, 4.7% and 3.2% respectively, while the West decreased very slightly.
Total housing inventory decreased by 0.9% in June, and is 5.8% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the June unsold inventory represents a 4.6-month supply, down from a 4.7-month supply in May. Some 48% of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month, down slightly from 49% last month.
The distressed sales share was 6% in June, unchanged from May, and down from 8% a year ago. Distressed sales are defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. The June all-cash sales share was 22%, unchanged from last month and a year ago. Individual investors purchased an 11% share in June, down from 13% last month, and the lowest share since July 2009, continuing to follow a four year pattern of increasing at the beginning of the year and declining by spring.
The June median sales price of $247,700 was 4.8% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 52nd consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median condominium/co-op price of $231,600 in June was up 3.2% from the same month a year ago.
The market has awaited signs of returning first-time buyers. More millennials are considering moves from expensive tech employment hubs to less expensive metro areas, suggesting further sales increases in those more affordable areas. The U.K’s decision to leave the European Union could result in increased demand from foreign buyers looking for a safer place to invest their cash. Builder sentiment remains cautiously optimistic, and the tight inventory of existing homes bodes well for new single-family sales in 2016.