U.S. Existing-Home Sales Continued to Climb in August
By Will Parker and Harriet Torry
Sales of previously owned homes rose in August for the third
consecutive month of sales increases, the National Association of
Realtors said Tuesday, a sign that prospective homebuyers remain
motivated to buy despite the pandemic.
Sales increased 2.4% from a month earlier to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of six million, according to NAR.
On an annual basis, sales rose 10.5% in August, putting this
summer's housing market well ahead of last year's sales levels, as
more people working from home have either sped up their home
purchasing plans or decided to buy for the first time. The boom in
sales is most pronounced at the upper end of the market.
"The luxury housing sector is just simply taking off," said
Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR.
Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected home
sales to rise 3.2% in August. In July, existing home sales had
risen a record 24.7%.
The continued increase in sales in August was greatest among
mid- and high-priced homes, a sign that low inventory of homes for
sale remains an issue at the lower end of the market, leaving many
with few buying options. The shortage of more affordable homes also
is helping push sales prices to record highs. The median sales
price of an existing home in August was $310,600, 11.4% higher than
it was last year.
"The lower the price point the greater decline in inventory,"
Mr. Yun said.
Sales of homes priced under $100,000 fell more than 20% compared
with a year ago, according to NAR. By comparison, sales of homes
priced over $1 million rose 44%.
Mortgage interest rates have dropped to historic lows during the
pandemic, which also is helping to boost homebuying. As of Sept.
17, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was
2.87%, according to Freddie Mac.
News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, operates
Realtor.com under license from the National Association of
Write to Will Parker at email@example.com and Harriet Torry at
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 22, 2020 10:23 ET (14:23 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.