By Peter Ricci
September existing-home sales increased 11 percent year-over-year, as housing inventory continued to stabilize and median home price increased, according to the latest economic report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Though sales were down slightly by 1.7 percent from August to September, the median existing-home price for all housing types did rise 11.3 percent from September 2011; that’s the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year price increases, a streak that hasn’t happened since 2005.
September Existing-Home Sales Report – Data Galore
As is typical of NAR’s economic reports, the September existing-home sales data was flanked with quite a bit of complementary housing stats, including:
- The most promising news of the report seems to be that total housing inventory was down 3.3 percent from August and 20.0 percent from September 2011; housing inventory then was at an 8.1-months supply, but is now down to a 5.9-months supply, which is a stable, healthy inventory level for the housing market.
- Also encouraging, median time on the market has dropped considerably, falling from 101 days last year to 70 days in September, a 30.7 percent decline; nearly a third of the homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
- Regionally, September existing-home sales were down in the Midwest by 0.9 percent from August, but up 19.6 percent from a year ago, while in the South, they increased 0.5 percent monthly and 14.2 percent yearly. Also, both the Midwest and South saw median price increases of 7.0 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively.
Lawrence Yun – “Genuine” Housing Recovery
In comments accompanying the association’s report, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that even with the minor setback in the September existing-home sales rate, housing is still moving towards a recovery.
“Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we’re experiencing a genuine recovery,” he said. “More people are attempting to buy homes than are able to qualify for mortgages, and recent price increases are not deterring buyer interest.