Steel Markets

Existing Home Sales Increase for Second Month

Written by Sandy Williams

Existing home sales grew for the second consecutive month with three U.S. regions reporting higher gains, said the National Association of Realtors. Sales rose 1.3 percent from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million in August. Sales were up 2.6 percent from a year ago. Sales of single-family homes rose 2.9 percent from August 2018, while sales of condos and co-ops increased 1.7 percent.

House4saleThe median sales price rose 4.7 percent from a year ago to $278,200. The single-family median home price rose 4.7 percent year-over-year to $280,700, and the condos and co-op median price jumped 5.2 percent to  $257,600.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said falling mortgage rates benefited sales in August. “As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates,” he said. “The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.”

Inventory decreased to 1.86 million homes for sale, from 1.90 million in July and 1.91 million in August 2018. At the current sales price, inventory is at a 4.1-month supply, down from 4.2 months in July.

The regional breakdown shows existing home sales rising 7.6 percent in the Northeast, 3.1 percent in the Midwest and 0.9 percent in the South. The West was the only region with declining sales, falling 3.4 percent to 1.14 million in August. Existing home prices grew the most in the Midwest and declined only in the Northeast.

Low inventory may push home prices up, said Yun. “Homebuilders need to ramp up new housing, as the failure to increase construction will put home prices in danger of increasing at a faster pace than income.”

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