U.S. existing-home sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.39 million, up 0.7% compared with August and up 1.5% compared with September 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors.
However, the increase probably would have been greater were it not for the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which affected home sales in the greater Houston area and southern Florida.
“Sales activity likely would have been somewhat stronger if not for the fact that parts of Texas and South Florida – hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – saw temporary, but notable declines,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement.
Existing-home sales, however, have been flat for most of this year, due mainly to tight inventory and rising prices.
“Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” Yun says. “Realtors this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $245,100, an increase of 4.2% compared with $235,200 in September 2016.
September marked the 67th straight month that the average U.S. home price increased on a year-over-year basis.
Total housing inventory as of the end of September stood at about 1.9 million existing homes available for sale – about a 4.2-month supply. That’s an increase of 1.6% compared with August but down 6.4% compared with September 2016.
As of September, inventory had fallen year-over-year for 28 consecutive months.