Listings in July typically went under contract in under 30 days for the fourth consecutive month because of high buyer demand, but existing-home sales ultimately pulled back as large declines in the Northeast and Midwest outweighed sales increases in the South and West, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.44 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.51 million in June. July’s sales pace is still 2.1% above a year ago, but is the lowest of 2017.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $258,300, up 6.2% from July 2016 ($243,200). July’s price increase marks the 65th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of July declined 1% to 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, is now 9% lower than a year ago (2.11 million), and has fallen year-over-year for 26 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.8 months a year ago.
“Home prices are still rising above incomes and way too fast in many markets,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Realtors continue to say prospective buyers are frustrated by how quickly prices are rising for the minimal selection of homes that fit buyers’ budget and wish list.”
Properties typically stayed on the market for 30 days in July, which is up from 28 days in June but down from 36 days a year ago. Fifty-one percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.
Inventory data from realtor.com reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in July were Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 28 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 30 days; and Salt Lake City, Utah, and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., 31 days.
“July was the fourth consecutive month that the typical listing went under contract in under one month,” Yun adds. “This speaks to the significant pent-up demand for buying rather than any perceived loss of interest. The frustrating inability for new home construction to pick up means inadequate supply levels will keep markets competitive heading into the fall.”
First-time buyers were 33% of sales in July, which is up from 32% both in June and a year ago. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) were 5% of sales in July, up from 4% in June and unchanged from a year ago. Four percent of July sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.
Single-family home sales decreased 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.84 million in July from 4.88 million in June, but are still 1.7% above the 4.76 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $260,600 in July, up 6.3% from July 2016.
Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in July, but are still 5.3% higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $239,800 in July, which is 5.3% above a year ago.