By Selina Stoller, SAF Holdings, LLC
Sales of previously owned homes declined for the first time since July 2016 which suggests that a shortage of available homes for sale is taking a toll on the market.
September’s existing-home sales fell 1.5 percent from the same month a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors said, the third consecutive month of poor results.
Hurricane Irma, which destroyed parts of Florida, took a toll on home sales, dropping by almost 20 percent in September.
September’s sales pace was still the second-slowest in the past year. In August, existing-home sales fell to the lowest level in a year, mostly due to a drop in home sales in Houston and the surrounding area in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Inventory has also been scare because of sub-par home construction, which has contributed to a run-up in home prices. The median price of homes sold last month rose to $245,100 in September, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier.
At the current sales pace, it would take 4.2 months to exhaust the supply of homes on the market. That is down from 4.5 months during the same period last year, reflecting the tightening housing market.
On a monthly basis, existing-home sales edged up by 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September from August. But the small uptick was largely due to a modest rebound in Houston home sales, which were up 4 percent after a large drop in August.
Some economists are skeptical, however, that a lack of inventory is the sole explanation for sluggish home sales.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that “nearly two-thirds of renters currently believe now is a good time to buy a home, but weakening affordability and few choices in their price range have made it really difficult for more aspiring first-time buyers to reach the market.”
The National Association of Realtors is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
- 14 Nov, 2017
- Josh Smith