Existing home sales rose 4.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), up from a downwardly revised 5.30 million in August. Existing home sales are now 8.8 percent higher than the year ago level.
Total housing inventory fell 2.6 percent to 2.21 million existing homes available for sale, 3.1 percent lower than a year ago. There was a 4.8 month supply of unsold inventory in September, down from 5.1 months in August. The median existing home price was $221,900, 6.1 percent above September 2014.
“Despite persistent inventory shortages, the housing market has made great strides this year, backed by an increasing share of pent-up sellers realizing the increased equity they’ve gained from rising home prices and using it towards trading up or moving into a smaller home,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Unfortunately, first-time buyers are still failing to generate any meaningful traction this year.”
The percent share of first time homebuyers fell to 29 percent after reaching the highest level of the year (32 percent) in August.
Existing home sales increased in all four regions, rising 8.6 percent in the Northeast, 6.7 in the West, 3.8 percent in the South and 2.3 percent in the Midwest.
Distressed sales remained at 7 percent for the third month in a row. Foreclosures comprised 6 percent of September sales, while 1 percent were short sales.
Read the NAR release.