A report released this morning by 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 next week), fell by 1.7 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units. That was much worse than economists expected, the slowest pace of growth in a year, and the third monthly decline in a row.
Regionally, existing home sales rose in the Northeast (+10.8%) and the Midwest (+2.4%) last month but fell in the South (-5.7%) and the West (-4.8%). Total housing inventory slid to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale in August, which is also 6.5 percent lower compared to a year ago. Further, the median selling price was $253,500 last month, up 5.6 percent from August 2016 and therefore the 66th consecutive month of annual growth. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, added that “Some of the South region's decline in closings can be attributed to the devastation hurricane Harvey caused to the greater Houston area. Sales will be impacted the rest of the year in Houston, as well as in the most severely affected areas in Florida from hurricane Irma. However, nearly all of the lost activity will likely show up in 2018.”
Sources: Econoday, NAR, ZH, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch