Existing-home sales down, home prices up in July
Three of the four major regions saw a decline in existing-home sales in July from the month before, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released on Tuesday. Despite gains in the West, the overall national ledger was down 2.2% from June as homebuyers continue to deal with high mortgage rates and low housing inventory.
“Two factors are driving current sales activity – inventory availability and mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Unfortunately, both have been unfavorable to buyers.” Find out how mortgage rates are trending this week.
Year-over-year numbers were down at the least amount over the last year, with a decrease under 20% for the second time in as many months.
Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate
Inventory inches up, incrementally
Total housing inventory in July rose 3.7% to 1.11 million units from June. This is still lower than inventory from a year ago, 1.3 million units, a 14.6% decline), as the lack of homes for sale continues to plague would-be homebuyers and cause home prices to keep rising.
The median existing-home price in July stayed above $400,000 for the second month in a row, marking the fourth month in history that the U.S. median has been above $400,000. In July it registered at $406,700, down from $410,200 last month but an increase of 1.9% in July of 2022.
Median existing-home price
“Most homeowners continue to enjoy large wealth gains from recent years with little concern about home price declines,” Yun said. “However, many renters are concerned as they’re facing growing affordability challenges because of high interest rates.”
Sales slowed by rates
Mortgage rates have been trending upwards for much of the summer, and that is certainly affecting home sales. There is hope that rates will come down this fall. Yun hopes that “retreating mortgage rates will bring more buyers and sellers to the market and get Americans moving again.” They definitely seemed to slow contract activity across much of the country in July, despite a small increase in the West.
- Northeast: Down 5.9%, an annual rate of 480,000, down 23.8% from July 2022
- Midwest: Down 3.0% to an annual rate of 960,000, down 20.0% from July 2022
- South: Down 2.6% to an annual rate of 1,860,000, down 14.3% from July 2022
- West: Up 2.7% with an annual rate of 770,000, down 12.5% from July 2022
If you’re waiting for mortgage rates to come down, work with a local loan-officer who’s keeping a very close eye on what’s happening in the market. He or she can help you make best decision about when is the right time for you to buy a home.
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