Existing-home sales rose 7.0% in September after waning in August, according to a new report National Association of Realtors released Thursday. Despite this increase, sales of existing homes are still down 2.3% from a year ago.
“The gain in existing home-sales in September reflects contracts signed earlier in the summer,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA SVP and chief economist said in a statement. “MBA’s purchase application data showed an 8% gain in September, which is evidence of growing demand for buying a home and supports further sales increases in the months ahead.”
Year-over-year, inventory of unsold homes decreased 13% in September to 1.27 million. This is equivalent to 2.4 months of supply at the current monthly sale pace, a 7.7% decrease from August 2021.
“Some improvement in supply during prior months helped nudge up sales in September,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year.”
“MBA expects new home construction to help support growing inventory levels as we enter 2022, which will lead to a deceleration in home-price growth,” Frantantoni said in a statement.
The median existing-home sales price rose again in September to $352,800, a 13.3% increase from a year prior. This is the 115 straight month of year-over-year median sale price increases.
Of the homes sold in September, 86% were on the market for less than a month, with properties typically remaining on the market for 17 days, which is the same as August, according to the NAR.
“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,” Yun said in a statement.
When broken down by type, sales of existing single-family homes were up 7.7% in September as compared to August and down 3.1% from a year prior. Condominium and co-op sales, however, were up only 1.4% from August, but year-over-year, they were up 4.5%.
Regionally, all four of the major U.S. regions saw month-over-month increases in existing-home sales in September, with South seeing the greatest increases at 8.6% and the Midwest showing the smallest increase at 5.1%. Year-over-Year, the South showed no change in number of sales, while the other three regions saw decreases, with the Northeast showing the largest decrease at 8.3%.