A new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that total existing home sales in America, which account for a much larger portion of the overall U.S. housing market than new home sales (due out this Wednesday), fell by 1.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million units. That was worse than economists had expected and a large enough decline to lower the year-over-year pace of growth to just 0.7 percent, the weakest reading since August 2016.
Regionally, existing home sales rose in the Midwest (+3.1%) last month but fell in the South (-4.7%), the Northeast (-2.6%), and the West (-0.8%). Total housing inventory slid to 1.96 million existing homes available for sale in June, which is also 7.1 percent lower compared to a year ago. Further, the median selling price was $263,800 last month, up 6.5 percent from June 2016, the 64th consecutive month of annual growth, and a new all-time high. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, added that “Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines. The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year's pace despite these persistent market challenges.”
Sources: Econoday, NAR, ZH, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch