After falling for four consecutive months, existing home sales held its ground in August, 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, remained unchanged from July at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million in August. The report showed sales are 1.5% below August 2017’s rate.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that the decline in existing home sales seen in previous months appears to have hit a plateau with robust regional sales.
“Strong gains in the Northeast and a moderate uptick in the Midwest helped to balance out any losses in the South and West, halting months of downward momentum,” Yun said. “With inventory stabilizing and modestly rising, buyers appear ready to step back into the market.”
The median existing home price for all housing types increased to $264,800, surpassing last August’s $253,100. This is a 4.6% increase from August last year and marks the 78th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing available for sale held steady at the end of August at 1.92 million existing homes on the market and is up from last year’s total of 1.87 million. Unsold inventory rests at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, remaining unchanged from last month’s total but up 4.1 months last year.
“While inventory continues to show modest year over year gains, it is still far from a healthy level and new home construction is not keeping up to satisfy demand,” Yun said. “Homes continue to fly off the shelves with a majority of properties selling within a month, indicating that more inventory – especially moderately priced, entry-level homes – would propel sales.”
Properties stayed on the market an average of 29 days in August, rising from 27 days in July but still down from 30 days in 2017. The report states that 52% of homes stayed on the market for less than a month.