It has been a record breaking summer for residential housing in the United States despite repeated reports of tight inventory and record-high home prices from around the industry, according to an analysis from realtor.com.
Realtor.com reports that homes are selling 2 percent more quickly than last year; the median age of for-sale listings on the site in August is expected to by 72 days, which is two days faster than last month. The median listed home price for August was $250,000, which is 8 percent higher than this time last year and a new August peak.
Lately, however, housing has shown signs of slowing down. The average 72 days on market for homes for August is four days slower than in July, and the median home price stayed flat from July to August.
Housing usually experiences a seasonal slowdown in August in response to the school year starting, according to realtor.com. For-sale inventory experienced a monthly decline in August for the first time since January. Realtor.com estimates that even with an estimated 475,000 new homes for sale in August, overall inventory is still substantially lower than at this time last year.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing-home sales declined in July after four consecutive months of gains that saw them hit post-recession highs. The NAR data addressed the ongoing inventory shortage; Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin called the inventory supply “anemic.”
“Summer 2017 was one of most competitive buying seasons that we have ever witnessed, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and inventory shortages that resulted in record-high prices, said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com. “With the school year starting now in most of the country, we’re seeing some drop-off in demand, which may provide some relief for buyers weary from battling it out against other buyers all summer.”
Smoke went on to say on the low supply, “We simply can’t see growth in sales without having enough homes to sell. This has been the case for 47 straight months, a situation that has bolstered home prices but made it tough for people to find a home for sale that meets their needs.”
Smoke noted that a 12 percent increase in new home sales for July offset much of the month's decline reported for new home sales, but. . .“However, adding up the limited supply of houses for sale, a potential for higher mortgage rates on the horizon, and dampened consumer confidence, we're less optimistic about fall sales. But things look positive over the medium to longer-term, especially since the housing market is ultimately driven mainly by demographics and employment, both of which are decidedly in favor of strong sales.”
When broken down by median age of inventory and median listing price, realtor.com reported that the five “hottest” housing markets in August were unchanged from July: Vallejo-Fairfield, California was first (37 days on the market, one day faster than July); Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas was second (41 days on the market, one day faster than July); Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado was third (36 days on the market, five days faster than July); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California (33 days on the market, two days faster than July); and Stockton-Lodi, California (38 days on the market, unchanged from July).