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The Week Ahead: Another Increase for Existing Home Sales?

pending home sales

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release its June Existing Home Sales report on Tuesday, July 23, after May’s report revealed an increase for the first time in two months. 

Existing home sales rose 2.5% from the month prior, according to the NAR. The total number of homes sold increased to 5.34 million in May, which is a decline of 1.1% from a year ago.

“The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding,” said Lawrene Yun, Chief Economist at the NAR.

According to the report, the median existing home price for all housing types in May increased 4.8% to $277,700, and is also the 87th straight month of year-over-year gains.

May’s housing inventory increased to 1.92 million, up from 1.83 million in April, and a 2.7% increase from last year. Unsold inventory is at 4.3-months supply, which is a slight increase from April’s 4.2-months supply.

Housing supply remains at historic lows, according to the NAR, and Yun said “solid demand along with inadequate inventory of affordable homes” have caused home prices to rise.

“Before the housing market crash in 2007, the average length of time someone lived in their home was approximately five years. Average tenure length jumped to seven years during the aftermath of the housing market crisis between 2008 and 2016,” said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American. “The most recent data shows that the average length of time someone lives in their home reached 11.3 years in May 2019, a 10% increase compared with a year ago.”

Fleming added that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage has fallen to its lowest point since January 2018, and many homeowners don’t have an incentive to sell.

“Two trends are driving the increase in tenure length. The majority of existing homeowners have mortgages with historically low rates, so there is limited incentive to sell if it will cost them more each month to borrow the same amount of money from the bank,” said Fleming. “While mortgage rates have come down compared with last year, they are still below the 3.5% mortgage rates of 2016.

 

Here's what else is happening in The Week Ahead:

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (July 22)

Census Bureau New Residential Sales Survey (July 24) 

Census Bureau Vacancies and Homeownership Report (July 25) 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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