Existing Home Sales Fall Slightly in August
Purchases Drop For Second Straight Month
Existing home sales dropped for second straight month in August, falling 0.9 percent to 5.33 million units. This follows a 3.2 percent in July, and in both cases, economists have said a lack of inventory is the main reason sales are lagging.
The National Association of Realtors said sales are now at their second-lowest pace of 2016, but are still slightly higher (0.8 percent) than a year ago (5.29 million units).
"Healthy labor markets in most the country should be creating a sustained demand for home purchases," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. "However, there's no question that after peaking in June, sales in a majority of the country have inched backwards because inventory isn't picking up to tame price growth and replace what's being quickly sold."
The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $240,200, up 5.1 percent from August 2015 ($228,500). The NAR said August's price increase is the 54th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Housing inventory levels at the end of August fell 3.3 percent to 2.04 million existing homes, and is now 10.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.27 million). It has also declined year-over-year for 15 straight months, the NAR reports.
First-time buyers represented 31 percent of sales in August, down from 32 percent both in July and compared to a year ago. First-time buyers represented 30 percent of sales in all of 2015.
"Hopes of a meaningful sales breakthrough as a result of this summer's historically low mortgage rates failed to materialize because supply and affordability restrictions continue to keep too many would-be buyers on the sidelines," Yun said.