WASHINGTON — Existing home sales fell 1.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted 4.75 million-unit rate, following a revised 4.83 million rate in August, the National Association of Realtors announced Friday.
The August sales rate was originally reported as a 4.82 million pace. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters accurately predicted the 4.75 million rate for September.
The rate is an 11% increase from September 2011. The sales rate has now been above previous year levels for 15 straight months, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.
The median sales price stood at $183,900, a slight drop from the previous month but an 11.3% gain from a year ago.
The inventory levels dipped slightly from the previous month to 2.32 million existing homes, representing a 5.9-month supply at the current pace. September's inventory was the first sub- six-month inventory level since March 2006. Inventory was down 27.2% from the September 2011 level, when it was an 8.1-month supply.
"We are now entering a seasonal decline, Yun said of the falling inventory level in the coming winter months. "No fresh inventory gets listed."
He said inventory could hit the five-month supply mark this winter.
"This is a continuing indication of housing market recovery," Yun said, adding that consistent monthly increases are never to be expected.
He said the market is seeking relief from an inventory crunch constricting especially entry-level homes.
"The builders really need to ramp up their production," Yun said.