Existing Home Sales - July Report
Last Updated: 7/14/2014
Home Sales Pace
U.S. existing-home sales made a strong showing in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, with increased inventory taking some pressure off home prices.
Total sales of existing-homes climbed 4.9 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, up from 4.66 million in April. Compared with last year at the same time, sales were down 5.0 percent. This month’s sales gain was the largest in almost three years.
“Home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much-needed, rising inventory levels seen since the beginning of the year,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. “Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates.”
The NAR defines existing homes as all previously-owned single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, and co-ops. The group “seasonally adjusts” the sales numbers to factor in things like inclement weather, school sessions, winter holidays, etc. to smooth out the trends.
The NAR also describes its sales data based on an annual pace. The monthly figure represents the total number of housing units that would be sold in one year if the current rate were to continue unchanged.
Sales Pace by Region
Sales of existing homes rose in every part of the country in May, led by a strong performance in the Midwest. In the Northeast, sales rose 3.3 percent to an annual pace of 620,000, up from 600,000 in April. Compared with last year, sales are down 3.1 percent.
In the Midwest, sales grew 8.7 percent from the previous month to an annual rate of 1.13 million, up from 1.04 million, but sales fell 7.4 percent from May 2013.
Sales in the South experienced a 5.7 percent jump in May to an annual level of 2.05 million, up from 1.94 million the month before, and were only down 0.5 percent from a year earlier.
In the West, sales rose just 0.9 percent to an annual pace of 1.09 million in May, up from 1.08 million in April. On a yearly basis however, sales fell 11.4 percent.
Sales Price by Region
Prices also rose in every region of the U.S. in May, with the West seeing the largest gain. The Northeast median price rose to $256,700, up from April’s $244,600, although compared with the year before the price was down 0.9 percent.
In the Midwest the median price increased to $165,900, up from $155,900, and prices were up 4.0 percent from the previous year.
The South’s median price rose to $184,800 in May, an increase from $174,500 in April. Prices there are up 4.4 percent on a yearly basis.
In the West, the median price jumped to $297,500 from $289,600, with an 8.4 percent increase from a year earlier. Tight inventory in the West remains the driving factor in rising prices.
The number of homes for sales rose 2.2 percent in May to 2.28 million existing homes. At the current sales price that represents a 5.6-month supply. There was a 5.7-month supply in April. Total inventory is 6.0 percent higher than May 2013. The NAR considers a housing market balanced between buyers and sellers when there is a 6-month supply of homes.
Data for June existing home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of July.