Sales of existing homes jumped 7% in September to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.29 million units following a decline in August. However, sales are still down 2.3% from where it was a year ago, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.
At the same time, the available inventory of existing homes for sale fell 13% from a year before to just 1.27 million units in September. That’s equivalent to about a 2.4 months supply of homes at the current monthly sales pace, down 7.7% from August.
The NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun said that an improvement in supply in prior months had helped to nudge sales upwards in September. “Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year,” he said in a statement
Experts say housing inventory is likely to start rising in the next few months as builder confidence increased for the second month in a row in October and housing starts are remaining steady.
“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,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA SVP and chief economist, in a statement.
Meanwhile, the median existing home sales price rose again in September, gaining 13.3% from the year prior to an average of $352,800.
Of the homes sold in September, 86% were on the market for less than a month, with properties typically sitting on the market for just 17 days, which is the same as August, according to the NAR.
The share of first-time homebuyers fell to 28% in September, down from 29% in August. NAR’s 2020 profile of home buyers and sellers found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 31%.
“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 added.
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%.