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Home Sales Decline Though Prices Hold Steady

RE/MAX has released its RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018. The report illustrates a few clear trends, one of which is fewer home-closings as inventory stabilized over the last month. The report also gave a Median Sales Price of $241,000, continuing a 30-month trend of year-over-year price hikes. This is the highest price in September in the report’s history, which goes back 10 years to the Great Recession. Home prices in September rose 5.6 percent, more than twice the increase (2.3 percent) seen in the last yearly period.

The number of homes listed for sale was also down by 1 percent since August 2018, and a total 4.7 percent since September 2017. The nationwide average time for a closing was 46 days.  

Most remarkable of all, however, is the 11.6 percent year-over-year decrease in home sales that the report reveals. This drop in home sales stands as the largest seen since May 2011, with September 2018 becoming the seventh month this calendar year to record lower sales than those seen in 2017.

“The big drop in September closings catches your attention,” said Adam Contos, the CEO of RE/MAX. “The market is clearly rebalancing as buyers and sellers continue to process the increasing interest rate environment and what that means to them. The slower drop in inventory—a visible trend for nearly half a year—further illustrates the ongoing shift toward market equilibrium.

Active inventory also declined, a decline of 4.7 percent since last month—the 119th consecutive month it has done so. Still, this drop is the smallest decrease year-over-year since August 2014.

“It’s a little surprising to see prices staying so strong, but it’s hardly shocking in such a tight market,” Contos continued. “The headwinds of rising prices and interest rates amid already tight inventory levels have been crimping affordability and slowing sales for most of the year, but it varies by geography.  In circumstances like these, where the market is tricky to navigate, both buyers and sellers can benefit by aligning themselves with a professional agent – a local expert who can cut through the noise and advocate on their behalf.”

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