Existing home sales increased 1.1% in May, and 55% of homes sold last month were on the market less than a month as buyers overcame low inventory and higher prices. Although May inventory increased 2.1%, it remains 8.4% lower than a year ago and fell year-over-year for the 24th consecutive month. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that at the current sales rate, the May unsold inventory represents a 4.2-month supply, down from a 4.7-month supply a year ago. May existing sales were up 2.7% from the same month a year ago, and reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million compared to a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.
May existing sales increased 6.8% in the Northeast, 3.4% in the West and 22% in the South, but declined 5.9% in the Midwest. Year-over-year, the South was up 4.5%, the West by 3.4% and the Northeast by 2.7%, while only the Midwest was down slightly.
Homes stayed on the market for only 27 days in May, compared to 29 days in April, and 32 days a year ago. The May timeframe was the shortest in the history of that series which began in May 2011. The May first-time home buyer share was 33%, down from 34% in April, but up from 30% in May a year ago.
The May all-cash sales share increased to 22% from 21% in April, and was unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 16% share in May, up from 15% in April, and up from 13% a year ago. Some 64% of investors paid cash in May, up from 57% of investors in April.
The May median sales price jumped 5.8% from last year to $252,800, representing the 63rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The May median condominium/co-op price of $238,700 was up 4.8% from the same month a year ago.
April pending sales dipped for the second consecutive month, so the May bump in existing sales was good news. New home sales have grown 11.3% this year, and both jobs and incomes continue to grow, suggesting an improving market for new single-family construction.