Existing home sales slowed slightly in July to the slowest pace in more than two years and represented the fifth straight month of declines, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors. But demand stayed steady as the majority of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.
July’s existing home sales fell 0.7 percent from 5.38 million in June to 5.34 million in July, and are down 1.5 percent from last July’s rate.
The median existing-home price rose 4.5 percent from last year to $269,600 in July, marking the 77th straight month of year-over-year gains. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun noted that these increases in home prices may be tamping down demand for homes throughout the country.
“Led by a notable decrease in closings in the Northeast, existing home sales trailed off again last month, sliding to their slowest pace since February 2016 at 5.21 million,” he said. “Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market.”
Inventory of existing homes available for sale at the end of July sat at 1.92 million, unchanged from last year, but down 0.5 percent from June. Unsold inventory currently is at a 4.3-month supply, a rate that is also unchanged from a year ago.
Properties stayed on the market for 27 days on average in July, down from 30 days a year ago but up from 26 days in June. However, NAR noted 55 percent of homes sold in July were on the market less than a month.
“Listings continue to go under contract in under a month, which highlights the feedback from Realtors that buyers are swiftly snatching up moderately-priced properties,” said Yun. “Existing supply is still not at a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to meet demand.”
In the South, existing home sales only decreased 0.4 percent to 2.24 million, the smallest decrease except for the West which saw sales grow in July. The median home price was $233,400, a 2.7 percent increase from last year.