Home Sales Continue Reaching Higher

Existing-home sales increased in August, reaching their highest level in 6 1/2 years. What’s more, the median price shows nine consecutive months of double-digit year-over-year increases, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Sales are at the highest pace since February 2007, when they hit 5.79 million, and have remained above year-ago levels for the past 26 months. The median time on market for all homes was 43 days in August, little changed from 42 days in July, but is much faster than the 70 days on market in August 2012. Total housing inventory at the end of August increased 0.4 percent to 2.25 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 5.0-month supply in July. Unsold inventory is 6.3 percent below a year ago, when there was a 6-month supply. Limited inventory in some areas means multiple bidding remains a factor; 17 percent of all homes sold above the asking price in August. As the equity position of most homeowners continues to improve, some who have been on the sidelines will list their home for sale. Current home owners—whether move-up, move-down, or move-over buyers—accounted for nearly 45 percent of the market share in home sales. Meanwhile, first-time home buyers are still being held back, with a slight drop in their market share from 36 percent to 35.7 percent month over month. The investor share in home purchases dropped to 19.7 percent from 23.1 percent.