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With Few Homes Available, Existing Home Sales Fall in July

By Cheryl Young | August 24, 2017
  • Weighed by low supply, existing home sales dropped 1.3% to the lowest level in 11 months.
  • Existing home sales still fell below the pre-recession norm, taking into account the U.S. population, and reached just 83.5% of normal in July. Expect this rate remain below normal as first-time and younger home buyers struggle to gain a foothold in the housing market because of low supply.
  • While home buyers face continued headwinds in the form of high home prices and low inventory, these factors have done little to stifle demand. Encouraged by low mortgage rates, home buyers gobbled up inventory at a rate of 25.5%, nearly matching pre-recession rates.

Existing home sales decreased in July for the second straight month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.44 million. This is the lowest rate since August of last year, and down 2.2% from this time last year. The perennial story of chronically low inventory driving prices higher means unless the market sees a significant infusion of supply, the existing home sales rate will struggle as the U.S. population continues to rise. Existing home sales continue to fall short of their pre-recession levels, taking into account population; in July they were 83.5% of normal.

On a positive note, homebuyers gobbled up inventory as low mortgage rates continue to push housing demand with the share of inventory sold at 25.5% despite escalating home prices and historically low supply.