Existing-Home Sales Fell in June Despite Low Mortgage Rates

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Despite low mortgage rates and a strong job market, existing-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in June, down 1.7% compared with May and down 2.2% compared with June 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Regionally, existing-home sales increased 1.5% in the Northeast and 1.6% in the Midwest but fell 3.4% in the South and 3.5% in the West, compared with May.

Sales in all four regions were lower compared to one year earlier.

In May, existing-home sales increased 2.5% compared with April.

Lack of supply and low consumer confidence in the housing market continue to be the main factors holding back home sales in June.

“Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels – even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record number of jobs and a record high net worth in the country,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices.”

Yun says other factors could be contributing to the low number of sales.

“Either a strong pent-up demand will show in the upcoming months, or there is a lack of confidence that is keeping buyers from this major expenditure,” he says. “It’s too soon to know how much of a pullback is related to the reduction in the homeowner tax incentive.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in June reached an all-time high of $285,700, up 4.3% from $273,800 in June 2018.

Total inventory at the end of June increased to 1.93 million, up from 1.91 million existing-homes available for sale in May, but unchanged from the level of one year ago.

Unsold inventory was at a 4.4-month supply, up from the 4.3 month supply recorded in both May and in June 2018.

Properties typically remained on the market for 27 days in June, up from 26 days in May and in June of 2018. 

Fifty-six percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers represented 35% of sales in June, up from 32% the month prior and up from the 31% in June 2018.

Distressed sales represented 2% of sales in June, unchanged from May but down from 3% in June 2018.

Less than 1% of June 2019 sales were short sales.

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