Home sales level off in August after recent plunge: RE/MAX
August home sales dropped 0.5% after plummeting in July, according to real estate franchise RE/MAX. Home sales are still down 17.9% from August of last year. While some real estate agents reported increased showings, few have translated into closed transactions after the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of April. "This summer’s market is still recovering from the number of buyers who bought earlier to take advantage of the Tax Credit," Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, said. “It may take a couple of months to regain its footing, but we are expecting an increase in sales for September as the final deadline for the Tax Credit nears, and we’re very pleased that prices are holding steady." Going forward though, homebuilder pessimism in newly built single-family market remained unchanged in September from its 17-month low in August, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The median sales price reached $205,655 in August, down 1.7% from July and 1.3% above levels last year. California cities such as San Francisco (11.8%), Los Angeles (7.6%) and San Diego (3.5%) are leading price appreciations across the country. According to RE/MAX, if inventory levels remain stable, prices should still continue upward for the next few months. In August, it has. The inventory of homes on the market dropped 1.1% from the previous month and remains 1.4% below last year. For the 54 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) there is a 9.2 months worth of supply. A six-month supply is considered a healthy and balanced market. Write to Jon Prior.