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NAR: Sept. U.S. Existing-Home Sales Down 2.0%

Median home prices rose 2.8% year-to-year under NAR’s seasonally adjusted formula, and the inventory of unsold existing homes climbed 2.7% month-to-month.

WASHINGTON – Existing-home sales faded in September, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The Northeast region saw a small increase, but  the Midwest, South and West all registered year-over-year sales declines.

Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – fell 2.0% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.96 million in September.

Year-over-year, sales dropped 15.4% – down from 4.68 million in September 2022.

“As has been the case throughout this year, limited inventory and low housing affordability continue to hamper home sales,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The Federal Reserve simply cannot keep raising interest rates in light of softening inflation and weakening job gains.”

Total housing inventory registered at the end of September was 1.13 million units, up 2.7% from August but down 8.1% from one year ago (1.23 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.3 months in August and 3.2 months in September 2022.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $394,300, a 2.8% increase from September 2022 ($383,500). All four U.S. regions posted price increases.

“For the third straight month, home prices are up from a year ago, confirming the pressing need for more housing supply,” Yun said.

According to the Realtors Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in September, up from 20 days in August and 19 days in September 2022. Almost seven out of 10 homes (69%) sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

Other notable statistics include:

  • The number of first-time buyers fell slightly – 27% of sales in September, down from 29% both one month and one year earlier.
  • All-cash sales accounted for 29% of transactions in September, up from 27% in August and 22% in September 2022.
  • Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 18% of homes in September, up from 16% in August and 15% one year ago.
  • Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 1% of sales in September, unchanged month-to-month and year-to-year.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.57% as of October 12, up from 7.49% the previous week and 6.92% one year ago.

Single-family and condo/co-op sales: Single-family home sales slipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.53 million in September, down 1.9% from 3.6 million in August and 15.8% year-to-year. The median existing single-family home price was $399,200 in September, up 2.5% from September 2022.

Existing condominium and co-op sales recorded a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 units in September, down 2.3% from August and 12.2% from one year earlier. The median existing condo price was $353,800 in September, up 6.8% from the prior year ($331,300).

Regional breakdown: Existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 4.2% from August to an annual rate of 500,000 in September, though they were down 16.7% compared to September 2022. The median price in the Northeast was $439,900, up 5.2% from the prior year.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 4.1% from the previous month to an annual rate of 930,000 in September, and down 18.4% from one year earlier. The median price in the Midwest was $293,300, up 4.7% month-to-month.

Existing-home sales in the South dipped 1.1% from August to an annual rate of 1.82 million in September, and they decreased 11.7% year-to-year. The median price in the South was $360,500, up 3.1% from September 2022.

In the West, existing-home sales fell 5.3% from the previous month to an annual rate of 710,000 in September, and they dropped 19.3% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $606,100, up 1.8% from September 2022.

“The Northeast posted the strongest price gain resulting from higher demand coupled with inventory falling by 20%,” Yun says. “The West experienced softer price growth reflecting a pause after years of unsustainable and rapid price increases, especially in the Rocky Mountain region.”

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