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Existing Home Sales Rebound Sharply
Solid Gain From August to September

Sales of existing homes declined in August, but bounced back with a solid gain in September. The National Association of Realtors said there now have been 12 consecutive months of year-to-year increases in sales of single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops.

After declining in August, existing home sales posted a solid gain in September, the second-best pace in over eight years, the National Association of Realtors said.

Existing home sales climbed 4.7 percent to 5.55 million units on a month-to-month basis, and have increased 8.8 percent compared to September 2014.

Sales declined 4.8 percent in August, compared to July, but September's gain means positive numbers have been posted on a year-to-year basis for 12 straight months, the NAR said.

Existing home sales are defined as completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

"September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million)," Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, said. "While current price growth around 6 percent is still roughly double the pace of wages, affordability has slightly improved since the spring and is helping to keep demand at a strong and sustained pace."

A breakdown by region:
o Midwest - existing-home sales climbed 2.3 percent to 1.31 million units, and have increased 12.0 percent since September 2014. The median home price was $174,400, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.
o Northeast - sales jumped 8.6 percent to 760,000 units, and are 11.8 percent above a year ago. The median home was $256,500, or 4.0 percent higher than September 2014.
o South - sales rose 3.8 percent to 2.21 million units, and have gone up 5.7 percent year-to-year. The median home price was $191,500, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.
o West - sales increased 6.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million units, and are 9.5 percent higher compared to September 2014. The median home price was $318,100, or 8.0 percent higher year-to-year.

Breaking out single-family homes separately, sales rose 5.3 percent to 4.93 million units in September, compared to August, and are 9.6 percent above the 4.50 million units of a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $223,500, up 6.6 percent from September 2014.

Condominium and co-op sales, at 620,000 units, did not change from August to September, and are up 3.3 percent from September 2014. The median existing condo price was $209,200 in September, or an increase of 1.9 percent from a year ago.

The median existing home price for all types of housing in September was $221,900, a hike of 6.1 percent compared to the same month in 2014. It is the 43rd consecutive month of year-to-year gains.

"Despite persistent inventory shortages, the housing market has made great strides this year, backed by an increasing share of pent-up sellers realizing the increased equity they've gained from rising home prices and using it towards trading up or moving into a smaller home," says Yun. "Unfortunately, first-time buyers are still failing to generate any meaningful traction this year."

The number of first-time buyers fell to 29 percent of sales in September, after climbing to 32 percent in August, the best of any month thus far in 2015. In September 2014, first-time buyers comprised 29 percent of all transactions.

Properties remained on the market an average of 49 days in September. The average was 47 days in August, but below the 56 days in September 2014. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 135 days in September. The average for foreclosures was 57 days, and it took about 48 days to sell most non-distressed homes.

Source: National Association of Realtors

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July 16, 2019, 12:28 pm PDT

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