Existing-home sales weakened in June, as total sales saw a small decline after a previous month of gains, according to the National Association of Realtors. While two of the four major U.S. regions recorded minor sales jumps, the other two – the South and the West – experienced greater declines last month.
Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 1.7% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in June. Sales as a whole are down 2.2% from a year ago (5.39 million in June 2018), according to an NAR news release.
“Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels – even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record number of jobs and a record high net worth in the country,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist in the news release.
Yun added the country is in the midst of a housing shortage and more inventory is needed.
“Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices,” he said in the news release.
Yun said other factors could be contributing to the low number of sales: “Either a strong pent-up demand will show in the upcoming months, or there is a lack of confidence that is keeping buyers from this major expenditure. It’s too soon to know how much of a pullback is related to the reduction in the homeowner tax incentive.”
The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in June reached an all-time high of $285,700, up 4.3% from June 2018 ($273,800). June’s price increase marks the 88th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory3 at the end of June increased to 1.93 million, up from 1.91 million existing-homes available for sale in May, but unchanged from the level of one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from the 4.3 month supply recorded in both May and in June 2018.
Properties that remained on the market for 27 days in June was up from 26 days in May and in June 2018. Fifty-six percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate(link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.80% in June, down from 4.07% in May. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%, the release stated.
“Historically, these rates are incredibly attractive,” said NAR President John Smaby, in the NAR news release. “Securing and locking in on a mortgage now – given the current, favorable conditions – is a decision that will pay off for years to come.”
First-time buyers were responsible for 35% of sales in June, up from 32% the month prior and up from the 31% recorded in June 2018. NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20184 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.
As the share of first-time buyers rose, individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 10% of homes in June, down from 13% recorded in both May 2019 and June 2018. All-cash sales accounted for 16% of transactions in June, down from May and a year ago (19% and 22%, respectively).
Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in June, unchanged from May but down from 3% in June 2018. Less than 1% of June 2019 sales were short sales.
More stats from the NAR release said compared to May, June existing-home sales rose slightly in the Northeast and Midwest but decreased in the South and West regions. Sales in all regions were still lower compared to one year ago, with the most significant declines in the Northeast and West. Median home prices rose in all regions, with the highest gains in the Midwest and South.
June existing-home sale numbers in the Northeast increased 1.5% to an annual rate of 680,000, a 4.2% decline from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $321,200, up 4.8% from June 2018.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales inched up 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.25 million, which is a 1.6% decline from June 2018. The median price in the Midwest was $230,400, a 6.7% jump up from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South fell 3.4% to an annual rate of 2.25 million in June, down 0.4% from a year ago. The median price in the South was $248,600, up 4.9% from one year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.5% to an annual rate of 1.09 million in June, 5.2% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $410,400, up 2.3% from June 2018.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Additionally, the NAR release said single-family home sales sat at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.69 million in June, down from 4.76 million in May and down 1.7% from 4.77 million a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $288,900 in June, up 4.5% from June 2018.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units in June, down 3.3% from the prior month and down 6.5% from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $260,100 in June, which is up 2.8% from a year ago. “Condos are typically more affordable than a detached single-family home, but only a small fraction of condos are FHA-certified,” Yun said.
Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.
Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.
The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.
Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.
2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.
The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.
3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).
4Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.
5Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.