After a slowdown in June, existing home sales rose in the July 2019 Housing Market Recap. While one region saw a drop in sales, gains in the other three regions more than offset that loss. Prices continued their (apparently inevitable) march upward. The pace of sales slowed slightly from both the previous month and a year ago, and lack of inventory favored sellers and challenged buyers.
July existing home sales rose 2.5 percent from June, and were up 0.6 percent compared to July 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) July Existing Home Sales Report, released August 21st.
Home prices rose again. The median price of existing homes sold in July was $280,800, an increase of 4.3 percent from July 2018 ($269,300). We’ve now reached 89 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.
Days on the market (DOM) increased from June, moving from 27 to 29. A year ago, homes typically stayed on the market for 27 days. To look at it another way, 51 percent of homes were sold within a month of being listed for sale, so while the pace has slowed, the market continues to move quickly.
Inventory fell from June to July and year-over-year, keeping us firmly in a seller’s market. At the current sales rate the supply of unsold inventory was 4.2 months, down from 4.4 months in June and 4.3 months a year ago. (NAR consider 6 months of inventory a balanced market.)
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun stated that the supply of moderately priced homes is not meeting demand. “Clearly, the inventory of moderately-priced homes is inadequate and more home building is needed,” said Yun. “Some new apartments could be converted into condominiums thereby helping with the supply, especially in light of new federal rules permitting a wider use of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages to buy condo properties.”
Prices and sales up in 3 of 4 regions. Comparing July to June, sales jumped 8.3 percent in the West, rose a modest 1.8 percent in the South and 1.6 percent in the Midwest, and fell 2.9 percent in the Northeast. The Midwest led year-over-year median home price increases at 8.1 percent, followed by the South at 5.2 percent and the West at 3.7 percent. The Northeast fell by 1 percent.
Buyer Fatigue. If you’re looking for a home, particularly in the more moderate price ranges, you may feel discouraged. Homes aren’t staying on the market long, and the competition is fierce. Increase your opportunities by following these steps. First, line up your financing (with a First Choice Loan Services Inc. mortgage loan originator, of course!). Next, work with a trusted Realtor®. Realtors® often know about properties coming on the market and may be able to give you an early tour and submit an offer ahead of the crowd. Finally, be flexible. Look at homes that need some work. You can finance your purchase and renovation together with one loan (and one closing), saving you time and money. One last idea. Write a list of reasons why you want to own a home and review it when you need a boost. Use it to energize yourself to keep looking, and find the home you want.