Existing Home Sales Increase to Highest Pace in Nearly Six Years

Existing home sales increased 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.35 million in May according to the National Association of Realtors, up from a revised 5.09 million in April. Existing home sales have increased year over year for the last eight months.

Median existing-home prices increased 7.9 percent year over year to $228,700, the 39th consecutive month of year over year price increases.

Total housing inventory increased 3.2 percent over the month to 2.29 million homes available for sale, up 1.8 percent from a year ago. There is currently a 5.1 month supply of existing homes available for sale, down from 5.2 months in April.

The percent share of first-time home buyers rose to 32 percent, up from 27 percent a year ago. “The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering down payment programs,” stated NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Existing home sales increased in all four regions, rising 11.3 percent in the Northeast, 4.1 percent in the Midwest and 4.3 percent in both the South and West. Each region also saw significant year-over-year gains in home prices.

All-cash sales were 24 percent, the same as in April, but down from 32 percent a year ago. Individual investors purchased 14 percent of homes in May, unchanged from April but down 2 percent from a year ago.