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Residential sales falling again in the US, prices continue to rise

Existing home sales in the United States fell back in September following two consecutive months of increases, down 2.2% month on month, the latest industry figures show.

But completed transactions that include single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, were up 3.9% from a year ago, according to the figures published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that despite historically low mortgage rates, sales have not commensurately increased, in part due to a low level of new housing options.

‘We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory. Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential,’ he added.

The data also shows that the median existing home price for all housing types in September was $272,100, up 5.9% from September 2018 and prices rose in all regions. September’s price increase marks 91 straight months of year on year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of September was 1.83 million, approximately equal to the amount of existing homes available for sale in August, but a 2.7% decrease from 1.88 million one year ago.

Unsold inventory is at a 4.1 month supply at the current sales pace, up from four months in August and down from the 4.4 month figure recorded in September 2018. Properties typically remained on the market for 32 days in September, up from 31 days in August and even with September 2018. Some 49% of homes sold in September 2019 were on the market for less than a month.

A breakdown of the figures shows that existing home sales in September dropped in every region compared to the month prior. Compared to last year, September sales increased in three of the four major regions, while neither growing nor declining in the Midwest. Median home prices in every region increased from one year ago.

Existing home sales in the Northeast fell 2.8% to an annual rate of 690,000, a 1.5% rise from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $301,100, up 5.2% from September 2018.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales dropped 3.1% to an annual rate of 1.27 million, which is nearly equal to August 2018. The median price in the Midwest was $213,500, a 7.2% jump from a year ago.

Existing home sales in the South decreased 2.1% to an annual rate of 2.28 million in September, up 6.0% from a year ago. The median price in the South was $237,300, up 6.3% from one year ago.

In the West, existing home sales declined 0.9% to an annual rate of 1.14 million in September, 5.6% above a year ago. The median price in the West was $403,600, up 4.5% from September 2018.