Existing-Home Sales Stall in August, Prices Moderate
Following three straight months of gains, existing–home sales dipped in August despite slowing price growth and a positive turnaround in the share of sales to first–time buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors®. None of the four major regions experienced sales increases in August.
Total existing–home sales, which are completed transactions that include single–family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co–ops, fell 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.31 million in August from a slight downward revision of 5.58 million in July. Despite last month's decline, sales have risen year–over–year for 11 consecutive months and are 6.2 percent above a year ago (5.00 million).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home sales in August lost some momentum to close out the summer. "Sales activity was down in many parts of the country last month — especially in the South and West — as the persistent summer theme of tight inventory levels likely deterred some buyers," he said. "The good news for the housing market is that price appreciation the last two months has started to moderate from the unhealthier rate of growth seen earlier this year."
"With sales and overall demand higher than a year ago and supply mostly unchanged, low inventories will likely continue to limit options for those looking to buy this fall even with the overall pool of buyers shrinking because of seasonal factors," adds Yun.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30–year, conventional, fixed–rate mortgage declined to 3.91 percent in August after climbing above 4 percent in July (4.05 percent) for the first time since November 2014 (4.00 percent).
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