Hot on the heels of three consecutive months of existing home sales gains, US housing market activity cooled off in August, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Neither a slowing in price growth nor a boost in the share of first-time home buyers provided enough momentum to increase sales in any of the four major US regions last month, the association noted in a reported released earlier this week.
“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,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in the report.
Nationally, total existing-home sales, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, were down 4.8 percent in August from the previous month. This works out to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 5.31 million, down from 5.58 million in July.
Single-family existing home sales were down at a slightly higher rate of 5.3 percent year-over-year, equalling a SAAR of 4.69 million. July’s SAAR sat at 4.95 million, according to NAR.
Condo and co-op sales fared better. The sales of these units in August were down 1.6 percent to a SAAR of 620,000, or 10,000 less than the month before.
Though August’s existing sales dipped, they were still up from August 2014 by 6.2 percent. In fact, for 11 straight months, activity has been better than that seen in the previous year.
The median price of an existing home in America also increased year-over-year — a trend that’s now continued for 42 straight months — in August to $228,700. That’s 4.7 per cent higher than the median price of $218,400 seen in August 2014.
For single family homes only, the median-price gains were slightly more pronounced. The median price for one in August was $230,000, a 5.1 percent increase over last year.
Existing condo and co-op sales are up, too. The median price hit $217,400 last month, a 2.2 per cent increase over August 2014.
“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,” Yun said in the release.