Steel Markets

Existing-Home Sales, Prices Retreat in September: NAR

Written by David Schollaert

Existing-home sales shrank in September, retreating for an eighth straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Three out of the four major US regions saw sales decline month-over-month (MoM) in September while sales in the West held steady. Sales were down across each region year-over-year (YoY).

September sales fell 1.5% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.71 million units. Total registered sales were down by 23.8% from 6.18 million a year ago.

“The housing sector continues to undergo an adjustment due to the continuous rise in interest rates, which eclipsed 6% for 30-year fixed mortgages in September and are now approaching 7%,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales.”

The median existing-home price jumped 8.4% from September 2021 to $384,800. All regions posted increased pricing last month, marking the 127th straight month of YoY gains, extending the longest-running streak on record.

September marked the third month in a row, however, that the median sales price faded after reaching a record high of $413,800 in June.

“Despite weaker sales, multiple offers are still occurring with more than a quarter of homes selling above list price due to limited inventory,” added Yun. “The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010 when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.”

Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 2.3% from August to 1.25 million units and was down 0.8% from one year ago, the report said.

Inventory sits at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace. That’s unchanged from August and up from 2.4 months from September 2021. Properties averaged 19 days on the market in September. That’s three days more than August’s total, and up from 17 days versus the same period a year ago.

NAR reports that 70% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month. First-time buyers accounted for 29% of sales last month, unchanged from August and up from 28% a year ago.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.11% in September, up from 5.22% in the month prior. The average commitment rate across all of 2021 was 2.96%.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast dwindled by 1.6% in September at an annual rate of 610,000, falling 18.7% YoY. The median price in the Northeast was $418,500, an 8.3% increase from one year ago.

In the Midwest, sales were down 1.7% MoM to an annual rate of 1.14 million in September. They were down 19.7% YoY. The median price in the Midwest was $281,500, up 6.9% from one year before.

In the South, sales retreated 1.9% MoM to an annual rate of 2.08 million and were down 23.8% YoY. The median price was $351.700, an 11.8% jump from one year ago. Existing-home sales in the West were unchanged MoM at an annual rate of 880,000 in September. They were down 31.3% YoY. The median price in the West was $595,400, an increase of 7.1% YoY.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

Read more from David Schollaert

Latest in Steel Markets