How Are Existing Home Sales Faring?

Low supply, high prices still keeping a lid on sales of existing US homes

Total existing home sales grew by 0.7% month-on-month in September, according to the National Association of Realtors, to reach an annualised pace of 5.39m.

U.S. home resales unexpectedly increased in September as the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma began to dissipate, but a persistent dearth of properties for sale continued to weigh on overall activity. Year-over-year inventory declined 6.4 percentage points and is in its 28th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

US existing-home sales made a surprising monthly gain in September after falling the previous three months and after sustaining a market shock from two back-to-back hurricanes in the South region.

"A continuation of last month's alleviating price growth, which was the slowest since last December, 4.5 percent, would improve affordability conditions and be good news for the would-be buyers who have been held back by higher prices this year", said Yun. The median home price rose by 4.2 percent year over year to $245,100, down from a 5.6 percent jump in August.

"Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country", said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

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Economists looked to sales falling 1% to a rate of 5.30 million units last month. That's the first increase after three months of declines. Home construction fell 4.7 percent last month, partly because of the hurricanes.

Only homes priced above $470,000 - the most expensive one-third of the market - saw listings actually increase, by 2.3 percent.

Median price: $215,100, a 4.6 percent year-over-year increase.

Geographically, a lot of the improvement in sales came from the west (3.3%) and Midwest (.16%), while in the South and Northeast sales were flat. "There has not been an increase in homes priced under $260,000 in two years".

Battered by Hurricane Harvey during the final week of August, the Houston real estate market demonstrated its "Houston Strong" resiliency during the four weeks that followed with a rebound in home sales and the strongest rental activity of all time.

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