Existing Home Sales Continue to Rise

Existing-home sales rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Buoyed by an uptick in first time home buyers, sales reached their highest rate since February 2007. Annual sales of homes were mixed across regions, falling 1.3 percent in the Northeast, but rising 3.8 percent and 1.7 percent in the Midwest and West. Home sales in the South were unchanged from May.

“Existing sales rose again last month as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Looking ahead, it’s unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate as record high stock prices, near-record low mortgage rates and solid job grains face off against a dearth of home available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing.”

Total housing inventory slipped 0.9 percent in June to 2.12 million homes available for sale, while the median existing-home price moved up to $247,700, up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Distressed sales were 6 percent of sales in June, unchanged from last month. Four percent of sales were foreclosures while 2 percent were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 11 percent and 18 percent respectively.

Read the NAR release.