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U.S. existing home sales remain flat in August

Xinhua Financein CHICAGO
2018-09-21 08:55

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U.S. Existing-home sales remained steady in August after four straight months of decline at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million, but dropped 1.5 percent from 5.42 million reported in August 2017.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was 264,800 dollars, up 4.6 percent from 253,100 dollars reported in August 2017. The year-on-year price increase in August marks the 78th straight month of year-over-year gains, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total housing inventory at the end of August remained unchanged from July at 1.92 million existing homes available for sale, up from 1.87 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, consistent from last month and up from 4.1 months a year ago,

Properties typically stayed on the market for 29 days in August, up from 27 days in July but down from 30 days a year ago. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers accounted for 31 percent of sales in August, down from 32 percent in July but the same as a year ago. NAR statistics show that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.

All-cash sales were 20 percent of transactions in August, unchanged from July and a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in August, unchanged from July and down from 15 percent a year ago.

Distressed sales, for example foreclosures and short sales, were 3 percent of sales in August, the lowest level since NAR began tracking in October 2008, unchanged from last month and down from 4 percent a year ago.

To be specific, Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in August, unchanged from July and one percent below the 4.8 million sales a year ago.

The median existing single-family home price was 267,300 dollars in August, up 4.9 percent from August 2017; existing condominium and co-op sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in August, unchanged from last month but down 4.8 percent from a year ago. The median existing condo price was 244,500 dollars in August, up two percent from a year ago.

By region, August existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 7.6 percent to an annual rate of 710,000, but are still 2.7 percent below a year ago.

The median price in the Northeast was 292,800 dollars, up 2.6 percent from August 2017; existing home sales in the Midwest rose 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in August, but still down 0.8 percent from a year ago.

The median price in the Midwest was 208,500 dollars, up 3.4 percent from last year; existing-home sales in the South decreased 0.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.23 million in August, up from 2.19 million a year ago.

The median price in the South was 227,900 dollars, up 3.2 percent from a year ago; and existing-home sales in the West dropped 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.12 million in August, 7.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was 392,900 dollars, up 4.8 percent from August 2017.

"Strong gains in the Northeast and a moderate uptick in the Midwest helped to balance out any losses in the South and West, halting months of downward momentum," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "With inventory stabilizing and modestly rising, buyers appear ready to step back into the market."

The NAR is America's largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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