Existing Sales Fall to Slowest Pace in Two Years

Existing-home sales decreased 0.7% in July to a level 1.5% below a year ago, and sales have now decreased year-over-year for four straight months. The first-time buyer share of 32% was up from last month, but down from 33% a year ago. The National Association of Realtors reported that 55% of homes sold in July were on the market less than a month, compared to 58% in June. The July inventory decreased 0.5%, reversing the promise of increasing inventory reported last month. At the current sales rate, the July unsold inventory represents a 4.3-month supply, unchanged from a year ago. July existing sales reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million units, compared to 5.38 million in June. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

Existing sales increased 4.4% in the West, but fell 0.4% in the South, 1.6% in the Midwest and 8.3% in the Northeast. Year-over-year, sales decreased in all four regions, ranging from 0.4% in the South to 4.0% in the West.

Homes stayed on the market for 27 days in July, up from 26 days in June, but down from 30 days a year ago.

The July all-cash sales share was 20 %, down from 22% in June, but up from 19% a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 13% share in July, unchanged from June and a year ago.

The July median sales price of $269,600 was up 4.5% from a year ago, representing the 77th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The July median condominium/co-op price of $248,100 was up 3.2% from a year ago.

Builder confidence remained firm last month, bolstered by strong job growth. However, housing affordability hit a 10-year low in the second quarter of 2018 because of a combination of limited inventory, high prices, rising mortgage rates and higher building material prices. Tomorrow’s report on July new home sales will reveal more about new residential construction.



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