Yet again, rising home prices had nothing on existing home sales.
Sales of existing homes rose for the second consecutive month in July, according to the latest monthly report from the National Association of Realtors. Single-family homes, co-ops, condominiums and townhouses saw sales rise by 2 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted rate of about 6 million. That’s 1.5 percent higher than the same period last year.
Inventory of homes was at 1.32 million at the end of July, down 12 percent year-over-year but up 7.3 percent from the end of June. At the current pace of sales, it would take 2.6 months to sell all unsold inventory, compared to 3.1 months during the same period last year.
More homes on the market would lead to fewer bidding wars, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
“Much of the home sales growth is still occurring in the upper-end markets, while the mid- to lower-tier areas aren’t seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter homes available,” Yun said.
The median existing home price in July was $359,900, a year-over-year increase of 17.8 percent. Yun said it was unlikely that prices would drop in the near term, but that there was a chance “they will level off as inventory continues to gradually improve.”
Buyers who are priced out are putting upward pressure on rental rates, he added.
Existing home sales saw the biggest annual increase in the Northeast, where roughly 740,000 homes sold for the second straight month, a 12.1 percent year-over-year rise. The region also saw the highest jump in median home prices, up 23.6 percent from a year ago to $411,200.
Houses were on the market for just 17 days, according to the report.