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Home Sales Reach 14-Year High

By: Kelly Leighton on in

Home sales in August reached a 14-year high, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors®.

Sales jumped 2.4% from July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6 million in August. Home prices across the U.S. also saw a jump, reaching a median of $310,600, up 11.4% from August 2019. Each region of the U.S. saw gains in both sales and sales price, but the Northeast region saw the biggest jump in home sales, up 13.8% year-to-year. Home prices in the area rose 10.4% year-to-year, with the median home price reaching $349,500.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate sales are flourishing, thanks to a combination of factors, including pent-up demand, low mortgage rates and smaller inventory.

“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery.”

As anticipated, inventory remains tight, with total housing inventory at 1.49 million at the end of August, a decrease of 18.6% from August 2019 when it was 1.83 million. Current sales pace leaves inventory at a three-month supply. The time homes spent on the market reflects this low inventory. On average, homes were on the market for 22 days, a decrease from 31 days year-to-year.

Despite a quickly moving market, first-time homebuyers increased 2% year-to-year. Thirty-three percent of homes purchased in August were bought by first-time buyers, while investors or second-home buyers represented 14% of inventory.

“Throughout Pennsylvania, Realtors® are seeing a challenging inventory situation, with properties often seeing multiple offers. Buyers are finding a very fast-paced market, one in which they have to move quickly,” said Bill Festa, PAR’s president.

Buyers Still Motivated, Despite Pandemic Challenges

“Home is more important than ever before, and ownership has become a key priority for many, particularly those who have never bought a home before,” said D. Steve Boland, president of retail at Bank of America. “Owning a home has historically helped families create a legacy and enabled them to build long-term wealth.”

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“We see lingering effects of the coronavirus on shopping behavior and preferences. In the Northeast, especially, people are now as likely as before the pandemic to be looking for a home in a market that’s not where they currently live. However, those looking elsewhere are much more likely to be looking in smaller, nearby markets,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

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