Steel Markets

September Existing-Home Sales Rebound

Written by David Schollaert

Existing-home sales recovered in September after waning the month prior, reported the National Association of Realtors. All four of the major U.S. regions registered month-over-month gains, while the South was sideways. Annually, however, only the South held steady, while each of the remaining three regions reported declining sales versus the same year-ago period.

September sales surged 7.0% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.29 million. Total registered sales of 6.44 million were down, though, by 2.3% from a year ago.

“Some improvement in supply during prior months helped nudge up sales in September,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year.”

The median existing-home price rose 13.3% from September 2020 to $352,800. All regions posted increased pricing in September, marking the 115th straight month of year-over-year gains.

“As mortgage forbearance programs end, and as homebuilders ramp up production – despite the supply-chain material issues – we are likely to see more homes on the market as soon as 2022,” said Yun.

Total housing inventory at the end of September slipped 0.8% from August to 1.27 million units, down 13.0% from one year ago. Inventory is at a 2.4-month supply at the current sales pace. Properties averaged 17 days on the market in September, unchanged month on month but down 21 days from the same year-ago period.

NAR reports that 86% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month. First-time buyers accounted for 28% of sales last month, down from 29% in August and 31% year on year.

“First-time buyers are hit particularly hard by the historically high home prices as they largely do not have the savings required to buy a home or equity to offset such a purchase,” added Yun.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 2.90% in September, up from 2.84% in August. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.

David Schollaert

Read more from David Schollaert

Latest in Steel Markets