Existing-home sales sank lower in August
Regional sales patterns were reversed last month.
National real estate data for August shows existing-home sales fell for the fourth time in just five months, while sales pace in the South and West regions lost steam after making modest gains in July.
The latest existing-home sales report, released by the National Association of Realtors, found total existing-home sales dropped 1.7% month-on-month in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million.
August’s sale pace remained slightly (0.2%) above the same period last year but was the lowest since then.
Existing-homes sales are completed transactions of single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $253,500, up 5.6% year-on-year but down month-on-month compared to July’s average of $258,300.
Total housing inventory fell 2.1% to 1.88 million existing-homes available for sale in August. This figures has diminished year-over-year for 27 consecutive months.
First-time buyers made up less than one third (31%) of all sales in August, slightly down on July (33%). All-cash sales accounted for one fifth (20%) of all purchases in August, up from last month (19%) but down year-on-year (22%). Individual investors bought 15% of homes in August, up on July’s figures. Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – totalled 4% of July’s overall sales, down month-on-month.
In July there were notable sales increases in the South and West regions of the United States, while the Northeast and Midwest suffered sluggish results. However, in August the circumstances were reversed.
National Association of Realtors’ chief economist Lawrence Yun attributed some of the South’s regional declines to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida.
“Sales will be impacted the rest of the year in Houston, as well as in the most severely affected areas in Florida from Hurricane Irma. However, nearly all of the lost activity will likely show up in 2018,” Yun said.
The latest claims data for Hurricane Irma reveals a quickly growing insurance bill of almost $2 billion.
Northeast: Existing-home sales rose 10.8% to an annual rate of 720,000 in August.
Midwest: Existing-home sales rose 2.4% to an annual rate of 1.28 million in August.
South: Existing-home sales fell 5.7% to an annual rate of 2.15 million in August.
West: Existing-home sales fell 4.8% to an annual rate of 1.20 million in August.
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