Existing-Home Sales Increase 9.6 Percent

by Houston Agent

Existing-home sales in May were up from last year, but more importantly, prices also increased.

Existing-home sales in May declined 1.5 percent from April to May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million, but were up 9.6 percent from May 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Median existing-home price, though, was a definite positive, rising 7.9 percent from last May to its third consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Other data from NAR’s report included:

  • Total housing inventory also declined, falling 0.4 percent from April and 20.4 percent from last year to a 6.6-month supply.
  • Distressed sales accounted for 25 percent of May’s sales, down from 31 percent last year.
  • First-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of purchasers in May.
  • All-cash sales were 28 percent of transactions, and investors purchased 17 percent of May’s homes.
  • Regionally, sales in the Midwest were up 19.5 percent from last year and median price was up 6.4 percent; in the South, price gains were similarly strong, up 7.8 percent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the lower inventories were probably the cause of the drop in sales, though he did highlight the increase in home values.

“The slight pullback in monthly home sales is more likely due to supply constraints rather than softening demand. The normal seasonal upturn in inventory did not occur this spring,” he said. “Even with the monthly decline, home sales have moved markedly higher with 11 consecutive months of gains over the same month a year earlier.”

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