NAR: Existing-home sales fall for eighth month in a row in September 

by John Yellig

Existing-home sales fell for the eighth consecutive month in September as house prices continued to rise, the National Association of REALTORS® said.   

Month over month, existing-home sales, which are completed transactions, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slid 1.5% to 4.71 million, which is 23.8% lower than the year before.  

“The housing sector continues to undergo an adjustment due to the continuous rise in interest rates, which eclipsed 6% for 30-year fixed mortgages in September and are now approaching 7%,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release. “Expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales.” 

Noting the continued small monthly declines in the pace of existing home sales, the market seems to have found a “somewhat sustainable level,” Compass president of national brokerage operations Neda Navab said.  

“This level is below historic and pre-pandemic averages (roughly 5.2 million to 5.3 million in a given month over the past decade), but still closer to those averages than the unsustainable, record levels experienced last year,” Navab said. 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $384,800, an 8.4% rise from the year before. Despite the increase, September was the third month in a row that the median sales price declined after reaching a record high of $413,800 in June.  

Total housing inventory at the end of September was 1,250,000 units, a 2.3% decrease from August and a 0.8% decline from the previous year. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory represents a 3.2-month supply, the same as August and up from 2.4 months in September 2021.  

“Despite weaker sales, multiple offers are still occurring with more than a quarter of homes selling above list price due to limited inventory,” Yun said. “The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010, when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.” 

Properties typically remained on the market for 19 days in September, up from 16 in August and from 17 days in September 2021. Seventy percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.     

By property type, single-family home sales in September slid to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.22 million, down 0.9% from 4.26 million in August and down 23% from a year earlier. The median existing single-family home price was $391,000, up 8.1% on a year-over-year basis.         

Existing condominium and co-op sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 units in September, down 5.8% from August and 30% compared to September 2021. The median existing condo price rose 9.8% year over year to $331,700.      

In September, first-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales, the same as August and up from 28% in September 2021, while individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes, down from 16% in August but up from 13% in September 2021.  

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