Existing home sales declined 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted 5.35 million-unit rate in August from an unrevised 5.44 million sales pace the previous month, the National Association of Realtors announced Wednesday.
The August rate represents a 0.2% increase from the same month a year ago, and was below the median 5.46 million unit pace predicted by economists polled by IFR Markets.
“Steady employment gains, slowly rising incomes and lower mortgage rates generated sustained buyer interest all summer long, but unfortunately, not more home sales,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “What’s ailing the housing market and continues to weigh on overall sales is the inadequate levels of available inventory and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices in several parts of the country. Sales have been unable to break out because there are simply not enough homes for sale.”
Sales in the regions were mixed in August. They were up 10.8% in the Northeast, 2.4% in the Midwest, but down 4.8% in the West and 5.7% in the South.
The median sales price was $253,500 in August, down from $258,100 in July, a new peak median, and a 5.6% increase from a year ago.
Inventory levels fell 2.1% from the previous month to 1.88 million existing homes, representing a 4.2-month supply at the current pace. Inventory was down 6.5% from the August 2016 level.