Existing-home sales in September declined 3.4% to the lowest level since November 2015, and are now down 4.1% from a year ago. The first-time buyer share of 32% was up from 31% last month and 29% a year ago. The National Association of Realtors reported that 47% of homes sold in September were on the market less than a month. The September inventory decreased to 1.88 million units from 1.91 million units in August, but was up from 1.86 a year ago. At the current sales rate, the September unsold inventory represents a 4.4-month supply, up from a 4.3-month supply last month and a 4.2-month supply a year ago. September existing sales fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million units. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.
Existing sales remained flat in the Midwest, but fell 2.9% in the Northeast, 3.6% in the West and 5.4% in the South. Year-over-year, sales decreased 0.5% in the South, 1.5% in the Midwest, 5.6% in the Northeast and 12.2% in the West.
Homes stayed on the market for 32 days in September, up from 29 days in August, and down from 34 days a year ago.
The September all-cash sales share was 21%, up from 20% a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 13% share in August.
The September median sales price of $258,100 was up 4.2% from a year ago, representing the 79th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The September median condominium/co-op price of $239,200 was up 1.5% from a year ago.
NAR described a clear shift in the market, with homes taking a bit longer to sell compared to earlier in the year. The decline in existing sales was consistent with pending sales declining month over month in four of the past five months. However, builders continue to view solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy. Builder confidence remains at summer levels, as builders work to meet the demand of future home buyers.