Au­gust sales of U.S. homes dip, even with lower prices

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Au­sick

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors (NAR) re­ports that the sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rate of ex­ist­ing home sales in Au­gust fell 4.8% to 5.51 mln from a down­wardly re­vised to­tal of 5.58 mln in July.

Ex­ist­ing home sales have in­creased on a year-over-year ba­sis for 11 con­sec­u­tive months and are now 6.2% higher than in Au­gust 2014.

The con­sen­sus es­ti­mate called for sales to reach 5.5 mln, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of econ­o­mists polled by Bloomberg.

Hous­ing in­ven­tory in­creased by 1.3% in Au­gust to 2.29 mln homes, which is equal to a sup­ply of 5.2 months, up from a 4.8-month sup­ply in July and sharply above the to­tal of 1.88 mln homes in in­ven­tory at the end of De­cem­ber 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to the NAR, the na­tional me­dian ex­ist­ing home price for all hous­ing types in Au­gust was $228,700, up 4.7% com­pared with Au­gust 2014, the 42nd con­sec­u­tive month of ris­ing home prices. In July the na­tional me­dian price was $234,000.

NAR’s chief economist said: “Sales ac­tiv­ity was down in many parts of the coun­try last month — es­pe­cially in the South and West — as the per­sis­tent sum­mer theme of tight in­ven­tory lev­els likely de­terred some buy­ers. The good news for the hous­ing mar­ket is that price ap­pre­ci­a­tion the last two months has started to mod­er­ate from the un­health­ier rate of growth seen ear­lier this year.”

The per­cent­age of first-time buy­ers bounced to 32% in Au­gust, up from 30% in July, match­ing the high­est share of first-time buy­ers set in May. In Au­gust of 2014, first­time buy­ers ac­counted for 29% of all sales.

Sales of sin­gle-fam­ily homes fell 5.3% from July at a sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rate of 4.69 mln, up 6.1% com­pared with Au­gust a year ago. Sales of mul­ti­fam­ily homes de­creased by 1.6% year over year to an an­nual rate of 620,000 units.

Fore­closed and short sales ac­counted for 7% of Au­gust sales, down from 8% in Au­gust 2014. Fore­clo­sures sold at an av­er­age 18% dis­count to the Au­gust me­dian price, and short sales sold at a dis­count of 12%.

All homes were on the mar­ket for an av­er­age of 47 days in Au­gust, up from 42 days in July.

Fore­closed homes were on the mar­ket for an av­er­age of 66 days and short sales took a me­dian of 124 days to sell. Non-dis­tressed homes took 45 days to sell, and 40% of homes sold in Au­gust were on the mar­ket for less than a month.

The NAR also re­gional data:

- Au­gust

re­ported

ex­ist­ing-home

the

fol­low­ing

sales

in

the North­east re­mained un­changed at an an­nual rate of 700,000 and are now 6.1% above a year ago. The me­dian price in the North­east was $271,600, which is 2.4% higher than Au­gust 2014.

- In the Mid­west, ex­ist­ing-home sales de­clined by 1.5% to an an­nual rate of 1.28 mln in Au­gust, but re­main 5.8% above Au­gust 2014 sales. The me­dian price in the Mid­west was $181,100, up 4% from a year ago.

- Ex­ist­ing-home sales in the South dropped 6.6% to an an­nual rate of 2.14 mln in Au­gust and are now 5.9% above Au­gust 2014. The me­dian price in the South was $196,300, up 6% from a year ago.

- Ex­ist­ing-home sales in the West tum­bled 7.8% to an an­nual rate of 1.19 mln in Au­gust and re­main 7.2% above a year ago. The me­dian price in the West was $321,300, which is 7.1% above July 2014. (Source: 24/7 Wall St.com)

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