Low supply hit homes sales in the United States in June, latest index shows

Existing home sales in the United States fell in June as low supply kept properties selling at a near record pace but ultimately ended up muting overall activity, the latest index data shows.

Total existing home sales decreased by 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million in June from 5.62 million in May, according to the figures published by the National Association of Realtors.

Only the Mid West saw a rise in sales but despite the decline sales in June were still 0.7% above a year ago, although this was the second lowest level of 2017 so far.

‘Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meagre level and price growth that’s straining their budget,’ said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

‘The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the side lines. The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year’s pace despite these persistent market challenges,’ he added.

The median existing home price in June was $263,800, up 6.5% from June 2016, taking prices to a new peak and the 64th month in a row that sales prices have increased year on year.

But there were slightly fewer first time buyers. They accounted for 32% of sales in June, down from 33% both in May and a year ago. Yun said that worsening supply and affordability conditions in many markets have unfortunately put a temporary hold on many aspiring buyers’ dreams of owning a home this year.

A breakdown of the figures show that sales in the Northeast fell 2.6% but are still 1.3% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $296,300, which is 4.1% above June 2016.

In the Midwest, existing home sales were up by 3.1%, unchanged from June 2016, with a median price of $213,000, up 7.7% from a year ago while sales in the South fell 4.7%, also unchanged and with a median price of $231,300, up 6.2% from a year ago.

Existing home sales in the West fell 0.8% but remain 2.5% above a year ago. The median price in the West was $378,100, up 7.4% from June 2016.

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