After falling for three straight months, existing home sales reversed course in September, posting an increase, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September. This is up from 5.35 million in August.
This slight increase beat expectations which, according to one expert who served as Fannie Mae’s chief economist for more than 20 years, were expected to drop.
However, sales remain 1.5% below September 2016, and is the second lowest pace over the past year.
“Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Realtors this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings, especially at the lower end of the market, and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”
“Sales activity likely would have been somewhat stronger if not for the fact that parts of Texas and South Florida – hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – saw temporary, but notable declines,” Yun said.
The median existing home price for all housing types increase 4.2% annually in September to $245,100, up from $235,200 last year. This marks the 67th straight month of annual home price increases.
Housing inventory saw relief as it rose 1.6% to 1.9 million existing homes for sale in September. But inventory remains 6.4% below last year’s 2.03 million homes, and has fallen annually for 28 consecutive months. Unsold inventory decreased to a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.5 months last year.