Existing-homes sales stable in JulyMortgagePress.comU.S. home sales statistics
Existing-home sales were essentially unchanged in July, with
increases in the West and Northeast offset by a decline in the
Midwest, according to the National Association of Realtors
Total existing-home sales—including single-family,
townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—slipped 0.2 percent to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units in July from
an upwardly revised pace of 5.76 million in June, and are nine
percent below the 6.32 million-unit level in July 2006.
Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said the market is holding
on despite temporary mortgage disruptions. "Home sales probably
would be rising in the absence of the mortgage liquidity issues of
the past two months," he said. "Some buyers with contracts have
been scrambling when loan commitments did not materialize at the
last moment, while other potential buyers are simply waiting for
the mortgage market to stabilize.
"The rise in sales and prices in the Northeast region on a
fairly consistent basis in recent months is promising because this
was the first region that underwent sales and price weakness after
the boom. Now, it appears that it will be the first region to climb
back, indicating that other regions could follow a similar
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate
for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.7 percent in
July, up from 6.66 percent in June—the rate was 6.76 percent
in July 2006. Last week, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year
fixed-rate dropped to 6.52 percent.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types
was $228,900 in July, down 0.6 percent from July 2006 when the
median was $230,200, the highest monthly price on record. The
median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for
more and half sold for less.
Total housing inventory rose 5.1 percent at the end of June to
4.59 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a
9.6-month supply at the current sales pace—up from an
upwardly revised 9.1-month supply in June.
NAR President Pat V. Combs said that mortgages are available for
the majority of potential buyers. "For buyers able to qualify for
conventional financing, there are ample opportunities in the
current market," she said. "Availability and pricing of
conventional loans are reasonable, and FHA-insured mortgage
applications have been rising as low- and moderate-income buyers
seek alternatives to sub-prime loans. If buyers are in it for the
long haul, now can be a good time to get into your home."
Combs added that it's important to boost FHA's viability. "NAR
is advocating for a stronger FHA to help creditworthy borrowers who
may be trapped in sub-prime loans with unfavorable terms," she
said. "We'd also like to see the elimination of pre-payment
penalties, which can trap borrowers in mortgages they can no longer
Single-family home sales slipped 0.4 percent to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of five million in July from an upwardly
revised level of 5.02 million in June, and are 9.3 percent below
the year-ago pace of 5.51 million units. The median existing
single-family home price was $228,600 in July, down one percent
from July 2006.
Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 1.4 percent to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 units in July from
740,000 in June, but are 7.5 percent below the 811,000-unit level
in July 2006. The median existing condo price was $230,600 in July,
up 2.4 percent from a year ago.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the West rose 1.8 percent in
July to an annual pace of 1.12 million, but are 15.2 percent below
a year ago. The median price in the West was $349,400, up 0.9
percent from July 2006.
Existing-home sales in the Northeast increased one percent to a
level of 1.02 million in July, but are 2.9 percent lower than July
2006. The median existing-home price in the Northeast was $290,900,
up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South were unchanged at an annual
rate of 2.26 million in July, but are 10.7 percent below a year
ago. The median price in the South was $186,300, down 3.2 percent
from July 2006.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 2.2 percent in July to a
level of 1.35 million, and are 5.6 percent below July 2006. The
median price in the Midwest was $173,800, which is 1.8 percent
below a year ago.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.