The housing market is showing signs of cooling off.Sales of existing homes — which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — were up 2% in July from the month before, marking two consecutive months of increases, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
The number of available homes for sale also rose a bit in July, relieving some of the pressure on buyers. And while home prices still climbed year-over-year, they did not top recent record levels, the report found.
“There has been a turn in the market from super heated to still very strong,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
A consistently tight supply of inventory has pushed home prices higher over the past year, but that picture is improving slightly, said Yun. The inventory of unsold homes increased 7.3% from June to July, but it was still down 12% from a year ago, NAR reported. Unsold inventory is at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace. A balanced market is about a 6-month supply of homes.
“We see inventory beginning to tick up, which will lessen the intensity of multiple offers,” said 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.”
The median price for an existing home in July was $359,900, up 17.8% from a year ago and marked 113 straight months of year-over-year gains. But the price jump for July is down from increases of 20% or more that were occurring in the market over the past year.