A snapshot of August’s existing-home sales data collected and published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that available months of inventory increased to 3.3 months while median sales prices topped $407,000.
Both of these numbers rose from the previous month; median sales price alone rose 3.9% to a final $407,100. This is the third consecutive month the median sales price surpassed the $400,000 mark.
The inventory of unsold existing homes dipped 0.9% from the prior month to 1.1 million at the end of August, or the equivalent of 3.3 months' supply at the current monthly sales pace.
All-in-all, existing-home sales fell by 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million; sales dropped some 15.3% year-over-year when the rate stood at 4.77 million.
Among the four major U.S. regions, sales improved in the Midwest, were unchanged in the Northeast, and slipped in the South and West. All four regions recorded year-over-year sales declines.
"Home sales have been stable for several months, neither rising nor falling in any meaningful way," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Mortgage rate changes will have a big impact over the short run, while job gains will have a steady, positive impact over the long run. The South had a lighter decline in sales from a year ago due to greater regional job growth since coming out of the pandemic lockdown."
Total housing inventory registered at the end of August was 1.1 million units, down 0.9% from July and 14.1% year-over-year when this number stood at 1.28 million. Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace, identical to July and up from 3.2 months in August 2022.
"Home prices continue to march higher despite lower home sales," Yun said. "Supply needs to essentially double to moderate home price gains."
Other data found by the report included:
- Properties were typically on the market for 20 days, unchanged from July and up from 16 days last year. Seventy-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
- First-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales in August, down from 30% in July and identical to August 2022.
- All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in August, up from 26% in July and 24% in August 2022.
- Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in August, the same share as in July and one year ago.
- Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—represented 1% of sales in August, unchanged from last month and the previous year.