The median price of existing U.S. homes has risen by 23.4 percent, from $294,400 in June 2020 to an all-time high of $363,300 last month, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Sales for homes under $150,000 fell in June compared to last year, but an increase in properties being sold at $250,000 and higher helped the median price jump to its new height.
Last month, existing U.S. home sales increased by 22.9 percent compared to June 2020, when some states were still under lockdown due to COVID-19. The seasonally-adjusted annual rate of existing home sales in June was 5.86 million units, an increase of 1.4 percent from May, reported the NAR. That is below the 5.9 million expected by economists, according to FactSet.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
The modest sales rebound last month followed a string of four monthly declines as soaring prices and a limited number of available homes on the market discouraged many would-be buyers, especially those seeking to become homeowners for the first time.
With so few homes up for sale, it has become routine for anyone putting a house on the market to receive multiple offers that exceed the asking price, and many sell within days.
Still, there are signs the red-hot housing market is beginning to cool a bit, said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.
While the market remains heated, Yun said sellers are now typically receiving about four offers, down from five. Prices are still at all-time highs, but he points out that that tends to be a lagging indicator.
“Maybe we have already turned the corner from super-hot to somewhat-hot,” Yun said.
Another positive sign for would-be homebuyers: The number of homes on the market, while still down sharply from a year ago, edged up last month.
“Inventory is beginning to open up,” Yun said. “Small increments, but nonetheless, we may have turned the corner on inventory.”
At the end of June, there were 1.25 million unsold homes for sale, an increase of 3.3 percent from May, but down 18.8 percent from June 2020. At the current sales pace, that amounts to a 2.6 months’ supply, the NAR said. At the end of May, unsold homes supply was at 2.5 months.
Homes typically remained on the market for 17 days in June, unchanged from May and down from 24 days a year ago.
Several trends are likely to keep the housing market competitive. Mortgage rates remain near historic lows, helping make financing more affordable. The average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage fell this week to 2.78 percent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. A year ago it averaged 3.01 percent.
More millennials are looking to become homeowners, while many Americans who’ve been able to work remotely during the pandemic are increasingly opting to move to another city or state to buy a home they can afford.
Another driver has been increased activity on Wall Street in the acquisition of single-family homes. Big institutional investors have begun to buy property and rent them out. All-cash transactions, which includes investors and wealthy buyers, made up 23 percent of sales in June, up from 16 percent a year ago.
Robust demand has also pushed up prices for new homes. New home sales fell 5.9 percent in May, the second monthly decline in a row, the Commerce Department reported last month. The median price of a new home sold in May jumped to $374,400, up 18.1 percent from a year ago.
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