Existing home sales see boost, affordability still an issue

By Kelly Leighton | Aug. 30, 2019 | 2 min. read

Existing-home sales reached 5.42 million sales in July, up 0.6% from July 2018 and 2.5% from June 2019.

However, the National Association of Realtors® found that the median sales price also saw an increase, reaching $280,000, an increase of 4.3% year-to-year from $269,300, the 89th consecutive month of year-to-year price gains.

“Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. However, “the shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.” The report found that in the largest metros in the U.S., homes with prices on the lower-end increased substantially, compared to higher-priced homes, which saw little to no price increases.

Yun added that the lack of moderately-priced homes is hurting the market. Inventory in July 2019 also shrunk, dropping from 1.92 million to 1.89 million from June, and down 1.6% from July 2018, or dropping from a 4.3-month supply to a 4.2-month supply. Properties are languishing on the market slightly longer, July’s homes were typically on the market for 29 days before being sold, compared to 27 days in June and 27 days in July 2018.

First-time buyers also decreased in July, falling from 35% in June to 32%, but matching year-to-year. Mortgage rates also remained low, dropping to 3.77%, down 0.o3% from June and down from 4.54% in July 2018 for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage.

With the exception of the Northeast, existing home sales saw boosts across the country in July. Compared to June, existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.6%, rose 1.8% in the South and grew 8.3% in the West. The Northeast saw a decrease of 2.9%. However, the Northeast was the only region to see a price decrease compared to a year ago, while prices in the West, Midwest and South all saw home prices rise from July 2018.

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