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 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).
“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. Yun says the nation is in the midst of a housing shortage and much 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.
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 price 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 inventory 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 typically remained on the market for 27 days in June, up from 26 days in May and in June of 2018. Fifty-six percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.
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 revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.
Distressed sales – 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.