The FINANCIAL -- WASHINGTON – Existing-home sales remained steady in August after four straight months of decline, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest canceled out downturns in the South and West.
The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in August was $264,800, up 4.6 percent from August 2017 ($253,100). August’s price increase marks the 78th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory3 at the end of August also remained unchanged from July at 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.87 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, consistent from last month and up from 4.1 months a year ago.
Properties typically stayed on the market for 29 days in August, up from 27 days in July but down from 30 days a year ago. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.55 percent in August from 4.53 percent in July. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.
First-time buyers were 31 percent of sales in August, down from last month (32 percent) but the same as a year ago. NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20174 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.
All-cash sales were 20 percent of transactions in August, unchanged from July and a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in August, unchanged from July and down from 15 percent a year ago.
Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – were 3 percent of sales in August (lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008), unchanged from last month and down from 4 percent a year ago. Two percent of June sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in August, unchanged from July, and are 1.0 percent below the 4.8 million sales pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $267,300 in August, up 4.9 percent from August 2017.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in August (unchanged from last month), and are down 4.8 percent from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $244,500 in August, which is up 2.0 percent from a year ago.
August existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 7.6 percent to an annual rate of 710,000, but are still 2.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $292,800, which is up 2.6 percent from August 2017.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in August, but are still down 0.8 percent from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $208,500, up 3.4 percent from last year.
Existing-home sales in the South decreased 0.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.23 million in August, up from 2.19 million a year ago. The median price in the South was $227,900, up 3.2 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West dropped 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.12 million in August, 7.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $392,900, up 4.8 percent from August 2017.
The National Association of Realtors is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.