Existing-home sales rebounded in September after seeing sales wane the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Each of the four major U.S. regions witnessed increases on a month-over-month basis. From a year-over-year timeframe, one region held steady while the three others each reported a decline in sales.
Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.0 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.29 million in September. However, sales decreased 2.3 percent from a year ago (6.44 million in September 2020).
“Some improvement in supply during prior months helped nudge up sales in September,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year.”
Total housing inventory at the end of September amounted to 1.27 million units, down 0.8 percent from August and down 13.0 percent from one year ago (1.46 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.4-month supply at the present sales pace, down 7.7 percent from August and down from 2.7 months in September 2020.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $352,800, up 13.3 percent from September 2020 ($311,500), as prices rose in each region. This marks 115 straight months of year-over-year increases.
“As mortgage forbearance programs end, and as homebuilders ramp up production – despite the supply-chain material issues – we are likely to see more homes on the market as soon as 2022,” said Yun.
Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in September, unchanged from August and down from 21 days in September 2020. Eighty-six percent of homes sold in September 2021 were on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers accounted for 28 percent of sales in September, down from 29 percent in August and 31 percent in September 2020.
“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,” said Yun.
Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in September, down from 15 percent in August but up from 12 percent in September 2020. All-cash sales accounted for 23 percent of transactions in September, up from both 22 percent in August and from 18 percent in September 2020.
Single-family home sales decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million in September, up 7.7 percent from 5.19 million in August and down 3.1 percent from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $359,700 in September, up 13.8 percent from September 2020.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 700,000 units in September, up 1.4 percent from 690,000 in August and up 4.5 percent from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $297,900 in September, an annual increase of 9.3 percent.