Spurred by lower mortgage rates, existing-home sales increased 2.5% in May compared with April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
However, sales were down 1.1% compared with May 2018.
Regionally, sales were up 4.7% in the Northeast, 3.4% in the Midwest, 1.8% in the South and 1.8% in the West, compared with April.
In a statement, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, says “purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $277,700, up 4.8% from $265,100 in May 2018.
May marked the 87th straight month that the average U.S. home price increased on a year-over-year basis.
Inventory increased slightly, but remains tight: As of the end of May, there were about 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, up from 1.83 million in April and up from 1.87 million a year earlier.
That’s about a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.
“Solid demand along with inadequate inventory of affordable homes have pushed the median home price to a new record high,” Yun says.
Properties remained on the market for an average of 26 days in May, up from 24 days in April.