Existing Home Sales Regained Some Momentum in July 2019 — Prices Continue Ascent

Existing home sales rose 2.5 percent in July to 5.42 million sequentially from June 2019 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) and were up 0.6 percent compared to a year ago according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).  Raw sales (unadjusted) totaled 540,000 in July versus 523,000 a year ago for a 3.25 percent gain.   Sales were off 2.9 percent on a year-to-date basis, however, with single family closings down 2.5 percent and townhouse condos off 5.9 percent in the first seven months of 2019.

The following graph shows the total number of closings in the prior 12-months (Non-SAAR) along with the median price.  Median prices continue to rise, with the $280,800 median price in July up 4.3 percent compared to one-year ago.

The following graph shows the comparison between the SAAR of existing sales each month (black line) compared to the actual number of sales in the prior 12-months (green bars).

The next graph shows monthly closings by year since 2014.  Sales were greater in 2019 compared to 2018 in just two months thus far – May and July.

Average prices reflect the under-supply of housing across much of the country.  Note the pronounced seasonality across the year with peaks every June and lowest prices each January-February.

Other metrics and insights from the July 2019 NAR release included:

  • 51 percent of the sales closed in July were on the market less than one month, with the typical property lasting 29 days from the time of listing to having a signed purchase contract, up from 27 days a year ago
  • First-time homebuyers purchased three-out-of-every 10 sales in July (32 percent) down from the 35 percent level a year ago
  • All-cash sales made up one-in-five closings (19 percent) in July, down just slightly from 20 percent a year ago
  • Investors acquired 11 percent of all home sales in July versus 12 percent a year ago
  • Distressed sales made up just 2 percent of July’s closings, down from 3 percent a year ago
  • Million dollar and up homes made up 3.4 percent of all sales in July 2019,  down from 3.7 percent a year ago
  • The number of homes available for sale decreased to 1.89 million from 1.92 million a year ago

To read the entire NAR press release click https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/housing-statistics/existing-home-sales

No doubt the now lower mortgage rates are and will continue to have an impact on home sales.  Affordability, however, and the lack of down payments will continue to keep many prospective buyers on the renter’s sideline.


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