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Existing-home sales in the Northeast, the Midwest, the West, and the South have all come down for the month of September, says the National Association of Realtors’s (NAR) housing stat. Three out of the four regions (except the Midwest) have, however, sold more homes compared to the numbers they sold a year ago.
Total existing-home sales (single-family homes, townhomes, co-ops, and condos) have come down from 5.49 million in August to 5.38 million in September (calculations based on seasonally adjusted annual rate) marking a downtick of 2.2%. The decline notwithstanding, the year-over-year overall sales have risen by 3.9%.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, believes that low housing inventory is the reason why sales have not picked up to the degree expected despite the atmosphere of very low mortgage rates.
The NAR data further reveals that the median existing-home price stands at $272,100 for September, spread over all the housing types. This figure marks an upswing of 5.9%, calculated year-over-year. And by the way, this makes it 91 consecutive months of year-over-year gains.
The NAR data reveals that the total housing inventory, sitting at 1.83 million at September-end, is roughly the same as August-end (even this is a relief!). It is still a decrease of 2.7% compared year-over-year (the figure was 1.88 million in September ‘18”). Unsold inventory, standing at 4.1-month, is a small negative shift from August’s 4-month but decidedly better than 4.4-month recorded in September ‘18’.
While nearly half of the homes sold in September were actively listed in the market for less than a month, the Days on Market in August (32 days) are a hike on Days on Market for August (31 days).
NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers had disclosed that the first-time buyers took up 1/3rd of the total homes sold in 2018. The average (33%) rings true for September. This average was 31% for August and 32% for September last year.
Studying NAR data for different regions
The existing-home sales have come down in all the 4 regions. Interestingly, measured year-over-year, it still marks an improvement in the case of 3 of the 4 regions (the Midwest being an exception- its year-over-year is nearly unchanged). Median home prices have also shot up in the all the 4 regions according to the NAR data.
For the Northeast, existing-home sales in September have fallen by 2.8% to an annual rate of 690,000. However, this marks a year-over-year increase of 1.5%. The median Price, says the NAR data, has increased by 5.2% year-over-year to stand at $301,100.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest have come down by 3.1% compared to August, now standing at an annual rate of 1.27 million in September. The position is nearly unchanged year-over-year. The median price has shot up by 7.2% over the last year to come up to $213,500.
The story of decline echoes from the South just as well. Its existing-home sales for September have come down by 2.1% (the annual rate being 2.28 million for September). This though is an increase of 6% measured year-over-year. The median price in the South stands at $237,300, displaying a rise of 6.3%.
The West has been able to arrest the decline the most. Its existing-home sales have come down by 0.9%. At 1.14 million, it has shot up by 5.6%, measured year-over-year. The median price in the West stands at $403,600, an uptick of 4.5% year-over-year.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
The single-family home sales stand at 4.78 million (seasonally adjusted rate) for September. This is 2.7% below the 4.91 million recorded in August. Year-over-year, we still see a hike of 3.9%. The median home price for the single-family homes declares the NAR data, which stands at $275,100 in September, reflecting an uptick of 6.1% year-over-year.