Existing-Home Sales Heat Up in May, Inventory Levels Continue to Improve
Existing-home sales rose strongly in May and inventory gains continued to help moderate price growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four regions of the country experienced sales gains compared to a month earlier.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million in May from an upwardly-revised 4.66 million in April, but remain 5.0 percent below the 5.15 million-unit level in May 2013. The 4.9 percent month-over-month gain in May was the highest monthly rise since August 2011 (5.5 percent).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said current sales activity is rebounding after the lackluster first quarter. "Home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much-needed, rising inventory levels seen since the beginning of the year," he said. "Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates."
Total housing inventory at the end of May climbed 2.2 percent to 2.28 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down slightly from 5.7 months in April. Unsold inventory is 6.0 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.15 million existing homes available for sale.
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.19 percent in May from 4.34 percent in April, and is the lowest since June 2013 (4.07 percent).
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