Existing Home Sales Jump, Median Prices Continue To Rise

by devteam September 19th, 2012 | Share

Existing home sales and home prices bothrnimproved in August, with sales rising 7.8 percent on a seasonally adjustedrnannual basis.  According to informationrnreleased this morning by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) August wasrnthe sixth consecutive month for a year-over-year median price increase.  Median prices were up for both single familyrnand attached units.  </p

Total existing home sales based onrncompleted transactions including single family homes, townhomes, condominiums,rnand cooperative apartments were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82rnmillion in August compared to 4.47 million in July.  The August rate was 9.3 percent higher thanrnthe 4.41 million unit rate in August 2011.</p

Single family sales were up 8.0 percentrnto an annual rate of 4.30 million compared to 3.98 million in July and 3.91rnmillion one year earlier.  Existing condornand co-op sales increased 6.1 percent to an annual rate of 520,000 compared torn490,000 in July and were 4.0 percent above the 500,000 level of a year earlier.  On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there werern52,000 home sales in August, unchanged from the previous month but up by 6,000rnunits from August 2011.</p

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist,rnsaid favorable buying conditions get the credit.  “The housing market isrnsteadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and medianrnprices.  More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housingrnaffordability conditions,” he said.  “Inventories in many parts of therncountry are broadly balanced, favoring neither sellers nor buyers. rnHowever, the West and Florida markets are experiencing inventory shortages,rnwhich are placing pressure on prices.”</p

 “The strengthening housing market is occurringrneven with difficult mortgage qualifying conditions, which is testament to thernsizable stored-up housing demand that accumulated in the past five years,” Yunrnadded. </p

Thernmedian price of all housing types increased to $187,400 from $171,200 in Augustrn2011, a 9.5 percent increase.  NAR saidrnthe last time there were six back-to-back months with annual increases was fromrnDecember 2005 to May 2006 and the annual increase in August was the strongestrnsince January 2006 when the median price rose 10.2 percent on an annual basis.  The median price of a single family home was $188,700rnand a condo was $176,700 compared to $171,200 and $171,100 one year earlier.  The average home price was $235,300 comparedrnto 219,500 in August 2011.</p

Twelve percent of August sales werernforeclosures and they sold for an average discount of 19 percent; 10 percentrnwere short sales which were discounted an average of 13 percent.  Distressed sales had a 24 percent marketrnshare in July and a 31 percent share in August 2011.</p

Total housing inventory at the endrnAugust rose 2.9 percent to 2.47 million existing homes available for sale, arn6.1-month supply at the current sales pace compared to 6.4 months inrnJuly.  Listed inventory is 18.2 percent below a year ago when there was anrn8.2-month supply.  </p

Homes sold in August had spent arnmedian of 70 days on the market, down one day from July but much improved formrnthe median of 92 days in August 2011.  Thirty-twornpercent of homes sold in August were listed for less than a month, while 19rnpercent were on the market for six months or longer.</p

First-time buyers made 31 percent ofrnexisting home purchases in August, down from 34 percent in July and investorsrnpurchased 18 percent of homes compared to 16 percent the previous month.  All-cash sales, which are usually sales torninvestors, were unchanged from July at 27 percent of transactions and slightlyrnlower than a year earlier when 29 percent of sales were for cash. </p

NAR President Moe Veissi said some buyers arerninvoluntarily sidelined.  “Totalrnsales this year will be 8 to 10 percent above 2011, but some buyers arernfrustrated with mortgage availability.  If most of the financiallyrnqualified buyers could obtain financing, home sales would be about 10 to 15rnpercent stronger, and the related economic activity would create severalrnhundred thousand jobs over the period of a year.”</p

Regionally,rnexisting-home sales in the Northeast rose 8.6 percent to an annual pace ofrn630,000 in August and are also 8.6 percent above August 2011. rnThe median price in the Northeast was $245,200, up 0.6 percent from a year ago.</p

Existing-homernsales in the Midwest increased 7.7 percent in August to a level of 1.12 millionrnand are 17.9 percent higher than a year ago.  The median price in thernMidwest was $152,400, up 7.8 percent from August 2011.</p

In the South,rnexisting-home sales rose 7.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.90 million inrnAugust and are 11.1 percent above August 2011.  The median price in the region wasrn$160,100, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.</p

Existing-homernsales in the West increased 8.3 percent to an annual level of 1.17 million inrnAugust but are unchanged from a year ago.  With ongoing inventoryrnshortages, the median price in the West was $242,000, which is 16.3 percentrnhigher than August 2011.

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About the Author


Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, is a PASBA member accountant located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

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