Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 2.0% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million in July. Sales inched up year-over-year, increasing 1.5% from a year ago (5.90 million in July 2020).
“We see inventory beginning to tick up, which will lessen the intensity of multiple offers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Much of the home sales growth is still occurring in the upper-end markets, while the mid- to lower-tier areas aren’t seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter homes available.”
Total housing inventory2 at the end of July totaled 1.32 million units, up 7.3% from June’s supply and down 12.0% from one year ago (1.50 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the present sales pace, up slightly from the 2.5-month figure recorded in June but down from 3.1 months in July 2020.
The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in July was $359,900, up 17.8% from July 2020 ($305,600), as each region saw prices climb. This marks 113 straight months of year-over-year gains.
“Although we shouldn’t expect to see home prices drop in the coming months, there is a chance that they will level off as inventory continues to gradually improve,” said Yun.
“In the meantime, some prospective buyers who are priced out are raising the demand for rental homes and thereby pushing up the rental rates,” he added.
Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in July, unchanged from June and down from 22 days in July 2020. Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July 2021 were on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers accounted for 30% of sales in July, down from 31% in June and down from 34% in July 2020. NAR’s 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20204 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 31%.
Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in July, up from 14% in June but even with 15% from July 2020. All-cash sales accounted for 23% of transactions in July, even with June and up from 16% in July 2020.
Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented less than 1% of sales in July, equal to the percentage seen a month prior and equal to July 2020.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 2.87% in July, marginally down from 2.98% in June. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in July, up 2.7% from 5.14 million in June and down 0.8% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $367,000 in July, up 18.6% from July 2020.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 710,000 units in July, down from 730,000 in June and up 22.4% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $307,100 in July, an annual increase of 14.1%.
“As more homes come on the market, opportunities for prospective buyers continue to increase in regions across the country,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. “But even though we are beginning to see some normalcy return, NAR continues to work alongside legislators and policymakers to ensure we are doing everything we can to boost the supply of safe, affordable housing in America.”
Existing-home sales in the Northeast remained steady in July, registering an annual rate of 740,000 for the second straight month, a 12.1% rise from July 2020. The median price in the Northeast was $411,200, up 23.6% from one year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 3.8% to an annual rate of 1,380,000 in July, a 1.4% decline from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $275,300, a 13.1% increase from July 2020.
Existing-home sales in the South rose 1.2% in July, recording an annual rate of 2,630,000, up 1.2% from the same time one year ago. The median price in the South was $305,200, a 14.4% jump from one year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West grew 3.3%, posting an annual rate of 1,240,000 in July, equal to the level of a year ago. The median price in the West was $508,300, up 12.5% from July 2020.
The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services (MLS). Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.
NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for July is scheduled for release on August 30, and Existing-Home Sales for August will be released September 22; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.
1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.
Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.
The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.
Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.
2 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).
3 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.
The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.
4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.
5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.
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