Existing-home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.57 million in June – an increase of 1.1% compared with a downwardly revised 5.51 million in May and an increase of 3.0% compared with 5.41 million in June 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
It was the highest annual pace since February 2007, when existing-home sales were at a rate of about 5.79 million.
According to NAR, first-time buyers played a significant role in boosting June’s sales figures. The share of first-time buyers was 33%, up from 30% in May and up from 30% in June 2015.
Through the first six months of the year, first-time buyers have represented an average of 31% of all buyers. In 2015, they were about 30% of all buyers.
It was the highest percentage of existing-home sales to first-time buyers in nearly four years, according to NAR.
Meanwhile, the percentage of home sales to investors fell to the lowest level since July 2009. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 11% of homes in June – down from 13% in May and down from 12% a year earlier. In July 2009, they accounted for about 9% of all sales.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, says the impressive four-month streak of sales gains through June caps off a solid first half of 2016.
“Existing sales rose again last month, as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances,” Yun says in a release. “Sustained job growth, as well as this year’s descent in mortgage rates, is undoubtedly driving the appetite for home purchases.
“Looking ahead, it’s unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate, as record-high stock prices, near-record-low mortgage rates and solid job gains face off against a dearth of homes available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing,” he adds.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $247,700, an increase of 4.8% compared with $236,300 in June 2015. June’s price increase marks the 52nd consecutive month of year-over-year gains and surpasses May’s peak median sales price of $238,900.
Inventory, however, remains tight. As of the end of June, there were about 2.12 million existing homes available for sale, which is about 0.9% of all homes in the U.S. That’s about a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace – down from 4.7 months in May.
It’s also a decrease of 5.8% compared with June 2015, when there were about 2.25 million homes for sale.
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