Existing-home sales continued to climb in August, marking three consecutive months of positive sales gains, according to the National Association of Realtors. Each of the four major regions experienced both month-over-month and year-over-year growth, with the Northeast seeing the greatest improvement from the prior month.
“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $310,600, up 11.4% from August 2019 ($278,800), as prices rose in every region. August’s national price increase marks 102 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of August totaled 1.49 million units, down 0.7% from July and down 18.6% from one year ago (1.83 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.1 months in July and down from the 4.0-month figure recorded in August 2019.
Scarce inventory has been problematic for the past few years, according to Yun, an issue he says has worsened in the past month due to the dramatic surge in lumber prices and the dearth of lumber resulting from California wildfires.
“Over recent months, we have seen lumber prices surge dramatically,” Yun said. “This has already led to an increase in the cost of multifamily housing and an even higher increase for single-family homes.”
Yun says the need for housing will grow even further, especially in areas that are attractive to those who can work from home. As highlighted in NAR’s August study, the 2020 Work From Home Counties report, remote work opportunities are likely to become a growing part of the nation’s workforce culture. Yun believes this reality will endure, even after a coronavirus vaccine is available.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.37 million in August, up 1.7% from 5.28 million in July, and up 11.0% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $315,000 in August, up 11.7% from August 2019.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in August, up 8.6% from July and up 6.8% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $273,300 in August, an increase of 7.8% from a year ago.
For three straight months, home sales have climbed in every region compared to the previous month. Median home prices grew at double-digit rates in each of the four major regions from one year ago.
August 2020 saw existing-home sales in the Northeast jump 13.8%, recording an annual rate of 740,000, a 5.7% increase from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $349,500, up 10.4% from August 2019.
Existing-home sales increased 1.4% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1,410,000 in August, up 9.3% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $246,300, a 10.7% increase from August 2019.
Existing-home sales in the South rose 0.8% to an annual rate of 2.60 million in August, up 13.0% from the same time one year ago. The median price in the South was $269,200, a 12.3% increase from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West inched up 0.8% to an annual rate of 1,250,000 in August, a 9.6% increase from a year ago. The median price in the West was $456,100, up 11.8% from August 2019.
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.