Existing Home Sales Move Up in August

Septermber 15, 2010 (Shirley Allen)

Existing-home sales rose in August 2010 following a big correction in July, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million in August from an upwardly revised 3.84 million in July, but remain 19.0% below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales still remain subpar. “The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit. Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty,” Yun said.

Total housing inventory at the end of August slipped 0.6% to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 11.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12.5-month supply in July.

First-time buyers purchased 31% of homes in August, down from 38% in July. Investors rose to a 21% market share in August from 19% in July; the balance of purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales slipped to 28% in August from 30% in July.

According to NAR, regionally existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 7.9% to an annual level of 680,000 in August but are 24.4% below August 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $260,300, up 7.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 5.0% in August to a pace of 840,000 but are 26.3% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,600, up 0.4% from August 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 5.2% to an annual level of 1.62 million in August but are 13.4% below August 2009. The median price in the South was $155,000, down 1.5% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 13.8% to an annual pace of 990,000 in August but are 16.1% lower than August 2009. The median price in the West was $214,700, which is 2.5% below a year ago.