Existing-Home Sales Fell 0.4 Percent in May

Existing-home sales decreased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million in May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This followed a 2.5 percent decline in April. Sales are 3.0 percent below the May 2017 level.

“Closings were down in a majority of the country last month and declined on an annual basis in each major region,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Incredibly low supply continues to be the primary impediment to more sales, but there’s no question the combination of higher prices and mortgage rates are pinching the budgets of prospective buyers, and ultimately keeping some from reaching the market.”

The total housing inventory rose 2.8 percent to 1.85 million homes available for sale, 6.1 percent lower than last May and the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year decline. The median existing home price was $264,800, up 4.9 percent from May 2017 ($252,500) and an all-time high. This marks the 75th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Distressed sales were 3.0 percent of the total, down from 4.0 percent last month and down 2.0 percent from a year ago. Two percent of sales were foreclosures, and 1.0 percent were short sales.

Read the NAR release.

About Stephen Newton

Stephen Newton is an economic research associate at ABA.
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