Existing-home sales increased 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales are 2.7% above a year ago and the third highest pace over the last year.
“The job market in most of the country is healthy, and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”
The total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale, while the median existing home price climbed to $252,800, surpassing last June ($247,600) as the new peak median sales price. This marks the 63rd straight month of year-over-year gains.
Distressed sales were 5% of the total in May, which are down from 6% a year ago. Four percent of sales were foreclosures and 1% were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 20% and 16%, respectively.