Existing-home sales up in August

September 19, 2013


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Sales of existing homes in August were at their highest rate since February 2007, rising 1.7% over July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. In addition, the median existing-home price was $212,100, up 14.7% from August 2012. That is the strongest year-over-year price gain since October 2005 and the ninth straight month of double-digit year-over-year increases.

The sharp uptick may be temporary, warns Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Rising mortgage interest rates pushed more buyers to close deals, but monthly sales are likely to be uneven in the months ahead from several market frictions,” Yun said. “Tight inventory is limiting choices in many areas, higher mortgage interest rates mean affordability isn’t as favorable as it was, and restrictive mortgage lending standards are keeping some otherwise qualified buyers from completing a purchase.”

Total housing inventory at the end of August increased 0.4% to 2.25 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 5.0-month supply in July.

In NAR’s data existing-home sales are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

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