Steel Markets

Existing Home Sales Falter in September

Written by Sandy Williams

Existing home sales fell in September after a flat August with sales declining in all regions. September sales were a clear shift in the housing market, said the National Association of Realtors, with homes taking slightly longer to sell.

Existing home sales declined 3.4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in September. Compared to a year ago, sales are down 4.1 percent.

“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”

Inventory dropped to 1.88 million at the end of September to a 4.4 month supply at the current sales rate. 

Regionally, sales dipped 2.9 percent sequentially in the Northeast, were flat in the Midwest, fell 5.4 percent in the South and declined 3.6 percent in the West.

The median sales price rose 4.2 percent from a year ago to $258,100. Condos and co-ops were selling at a median price of $239,200, a 1.5 percent gain from last year.

“Recent sluggishness seems increasingly driven by softer demand from would-be home buyers in the face of two emerging trends: falling rents and rising mortgage interest rates,” said Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. “It all adds up to a situation in which supply-side factors are becoming less critical in driving home sales as they give way to softening demand. There’s still a lot of energy left in the housing market, but the rapid rise of the past few years has clearly begun to level off.”

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