Photo: James Bombales
There’s no slowdown in sight for the US housing market.
Existing-home sales increased for the fourth straight month in September to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Home sales were up 9.4 percent compared to August and almost 21 percent from the year prior.
“Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
“I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home.”
While every region of the country saw a surge in sales activity, the Northeast recorded the most dramatic rise at 16.2 percent month-over-month or an annual rate of 860,000 units. Existing home sales were up 9.6 percent in the West, 8.5 percent in the South and 7.1 percent in the Midwest this September.
Nationwide, the median existing-home price for all housing types reached $311,800. That’s a 14.8 percent improvement over September 2019, when the median-priced home sold for $271,500. US homes have seen 103 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains.
Inventory remained tight across the country, stoking competition among buyers. At the end of the month, there were 1.47 million available properties for sale, a 1.3 percent decline from August and 19.2 percent from the same period last year. Unsold inventory dwindled to 2.7 months of supply, down from 3.0 months in August and 4.0 months in September 2019.
The typical home spent 21 days on the market, a record low, and an 11-day difference from where things stood one year ago. A whopping 71 percent of homes sold in September spent less than a month on the market before being snatched up.
Sales of single-family homes spiked 9.7 percent from 5.35 million units in August, representing a 21.8 percent year-over-year increase. The median single-family home sold for $316,200 last month, a 15.2 percent boost over the same period last year.
Existing condominium and co-op sales also showed signs of improvement, rising 6.3 percent from August and 13.6 percent from year-ago levels. At $272,700, the median existing condo price logged a 9.9 percent uptick over September 2019.
First-time buyers accounted for 31 percent of sales in September, down slightly from August and September, while individual investors and second-home buyers made up 12 percent.