National home sales jump 20% in June

Though the biggest month-over-month increase since 1968, deals were still down from a year ago

National /
Jul.July 22, 2020 04:00 PM
The median home price also increased to $295,300 (iStock)
The median home price also increased to $295,300 (iStock)

Home sales increased at a record rate in June, signalling a rebound after three months of decline.

Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that sales of existing homes across four major regions went up 20.7 percent from the previous month, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June. The median home price also increased to $295,300 — marking the 100th month in a row that year-over-year median home prices have increased.

The jump in June is a promising sign for the housing market, which plunged into decline after the pandemic shut down much of the country, triggering a recession. However, while the month-over-month increase is the largest since 1968, sales in June were still down 11.3 percent on the previous year.

“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and job gains continue.”

Still, with virus cases surging and unemployment high, the market remains at risk, and experts will be watching closely to see if the uptick can sustain.

Housing inventory, which had gone down after would-be buyers pulled listings off the market with the onset of the pandemic, is also in short supply. While the total went up 1.3 percent in June from May, it was down 18.2 percent on the previous year.

NAR’s Yun said the drop could drive prices up.

“Home prices rose during the lockdown and could rise even further due to heavy buyer competition and a significant shortage of supply,” he said.

Homes that were on the market — the data covers single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — also appeared to be selling quickly. According to NAR, 62 percent of homes that sold in June were on the market for less than a month. Overall, properties usually remained on the market for 24 days in June, the data showed. That was down from 26 days in May and from 27 days in June 2019.

Sales of existing homes were especially strong in the west of the country, with a 31.9 percent jump in June from the previous month. Still, that total was down 13.6 percent from the previous year, the data showed.

Sales jumped 26 percent in the south of the country, and 11.1 percent in the Midwest. In the Northeast, the climb was more modest — just 4.3 percent.

In other segments of the market, including luxury new development, deals have been moving at a slower pace, and a rebound remains elusive. Last week, just four properties above $4 million went into contract in Manhattan, down from 12 the week prior.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]


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