Existing-home sales rise again in July

by John Yellig

Existing-home sales rose for the second month in a row in July, as the median price also posted a month-over-month gain, the National Association of Realtors said. 

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million in July. Year over year, sales were up 1.5% from 5.9 million transactions in July 2020. 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $359,900, up 17.8% on an annual basis, as every region in the country registered price increases. The increase marks 113 straight months of year-over-year gains, the NAR said in a press release. 

Total housing inventory at the end of July stood at 1.32 million units, up 7.3% from June and down 12% from a year earlier. July’s unsold inventory represents a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, slightly higher than June’s 2.5-month supply but down from 3.1 months in July 2020. 

“We see inventory beginning to tick up, which will lessen the intensity of multiple offers,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Much of the home-sales growth is still occurring in the upper-end markets, while the mid- to lower-tier areas aren’t seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter-homes available.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in July, flat from June but down from 22 days in July 2020. Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month. 

By property type, single-family home sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million, up 2.7% from 5.14 million in June but down 0.8% from a year earlier. The median existing single-family home price was $367,000, up 18.6% on a year-over-year basis.  

Existing condominium and co-op sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 710,000 units, down from 730,000 in June and up 22.4% from a year earlier. The median existing condo price rose 14.1% year over year to $307,100 in July.

The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional fixed-rate mortgage was 2.87% in July, down from 2.98% in June, the NAR said, citing Freddie Mac.  

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