According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes fell 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.44 million. While sales are 2.1 percent higher than a year ago, purchases are starting to slow as fewer properties are coming onto the market.
“The second half of the year got off on a somewhat sour note as existing sales in July inched backward,” said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR.
Yun noted that not enough inventory to choose from and its pressure on overall affordability put the brakes on what should’ve been a higher sales pace.
Total housing inventory has dropped 9 percent over the past year to 1.92 million. The median sales price has risen 6.2 percent to $258,300, according to NAR’s report. Further decreasing inventory is the pace at which homes are sold—improving from 36 days in July 2016 to just 30 days in July 2017.
“July was the fourth consecutive month that the typical listing went under contract in under one month,” said Yun. “This speaks to the significant pent-up demand for buying rather than any perceived loss of interest. The frustrating inability for new home construction to pick up means inadequate supply levels will keep markets competitive heading into the fall.”