Existing home sales up 0.7% to 5.39M rate in Sept.

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Existing home sales grew 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted 5.39 million-unit rate in September from an unrevised 5.35 million sales pace the previous month, the National Association of Realtors announced Friday.

The September rate represents a 1.5% decrease from the same month a year ago, but was above the median 5.30 million unit pace predicted by economists polled by IFR Markets.

“Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Realtors this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused “notable” but “temporary” drops in sales in parts of Texas and Florida, he said.

Sales in the regions were mixed in September. They were up unchanged in the Northeast, up 1.6% in the Midwest and 3.3% in the West, but down 0.9% in the South.

The median sales price was $245,100 in September, down from $253,100 in August, and a 4.2% increase from a year ago.

Inventory levels grew 1.6% from the previous month to 1.90 million existing homes, representing a 4.2-month supply at the current pace. Inventory was down 6.4% from the September 2016 level.

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