September 26, 2012 (Chris Moore)
The housing market continued to show signs of recovery in August as completed transactions of existing home purchases increased for the second consecutive month according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
Monthly existing home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.82 million transactions in August, up from 4.47 million in July, a gain of 7.8 percent. Compared to August of last year, sales were 9.3 percent higher than the 4.41 million seasonally adjusted transactions. It was the 14th consecutive month that year-over-year home sales have increased.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR, stated, “The housing market is steadily recovering with consistent increases in both home sales and median prices. More buyers are taking advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions. Inventories in many parts of the country are broadly balanced, favoring neither sellers nor buyers. However, the West and Florida markets are experiencing inventory shortages, which are placing pressure on prices.”
Regional Home Sales:
Monthly existing home sales in the Northeast increased by 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 630,000 transactions and were also 8.6 percent higher than in August of last year, while in the Midwest, sales moved 7.7 percent higher than the previous month, selling at a rate of 1.12 million annual sales, and were 17.9 percent higher than last year’s sales pace.
In the South, monthly existing home sales improved by 8.3 percent in August at an annual pace of 1.90 million transactions and were 11.1 percent above August 2011’s levels, and in the West, transactions for the month were unchanged from an annual rate of 1.17 million sales and were unchanged from last year’s sales pace.
Monthly home prices improved by a modest $100 as the national median existing home price increased from $187,300 in July to $187,400 in August. The median home price in August was 9.5 percent higher than in the same month last year, the sixth consecutive month that home prices have surpassed the previous year’s levels.
The median price in the Northeast was $245,200, which was 0.6 percent higher than a year ago but down from $254,200 last month, while the median price in the Midwest was $152,400, up 7.8 percent from August of 2011 but down from $154,100 the previous month.
In the South, the median price was $160,100, a gain of 7.3 percent from a year ago but down from $162,600 last month, and in the West, the median price was $242,000, up 16.3 percent from August of 2011 and up from $238,600 the previous month.
Cash and Distressed Property Sales:
Distressed property sales accounted for 22 percent of all existing home sales in August, down from 24 percent in July and down from 31 percent in August of 2011. Foreclosure sales made up 12 percent of all existing home sales while short sales also accounted for 10 percent of all existing sales.
Cash sales accounted for 27 percent of all sales in August, unchanged from July, while investors jumped in and purchased 18 percent of the homes sold in August, up from 16 percent in July.
The number of homes available for sale in August increased 2.9 percent to 2.47 million homes which represents a 6.1 month supply, down from a 6.4 months supply in July. The number homes listed for sale in August was 23.9 percent lower than in August of last year.
Tags: existing home sales, investors, distressed property sales, declining prices, low appraisals, cancelled contracts, median home price