Steel Markets

Existing Home Sales Up for Third Month

Written by Sandy Williams

Existing home sales increased for the third consecutive month in July. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for July was at 5.59 million, up 2 percent from a downwardly revised 5.48 million in June. Sales were at their highest pace since February 2007, said the National Association of Realtors, but first time buyer sales dropped to their lowest share (28 percent) since January.

“The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face,” adds Yun. “Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a downpayment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options.”

Inventory was down 0.3 percent to 2.24 million homes for sale, and down 4.7 percent from July 2014. A 4.8 month supply of inventory is available at the current sales pace.

Median sales price for all housing types rose for the 41st consecutive month to $234,000, up 5.6 percent year over year.

“The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “As a result, current homeowners are using their increasing housing equity towards the downpayment on their next purchase.”

Single family home sales were up 2.7 percent to a SAAR of 4.96 million in July and 11 percent above year ago levels. A median price for a single family home was $235,000, an increase of 5.8 percent from 2014.

Condo and co-op sales fell 3.1 percent from June to SAAR 630,000 units but still exceed July 2014 levels by 5 percent.

Home sales increased the most in the South, rising 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 2.29 million. Existing home sales in the West were also up by 3.2 percent to an annual rate 1.28 million. Sales were unchanged from June in the Midwest at 1.32 million and decreased by 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 700,000 in the Northeast.

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