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August Home Sales See First Annual Decline In 15 Months

Navi Persaud
Sep 16, 2021
Photo of a for sale sign outside of a home.

Home sales declined by 6% in August 2021, according to a report, this is the first annual decline in 15 months.

The rise in the median home-sale price in August pushed buyers out of the market, causing a 6% decline in home sales for August 2021, according to Redfin. The national median home-sale price increased by 16% year-over-year to $380,271 in August. It marked the 13th consecutive month of double-digit price gains but the lowest growth rate since February.

“When it comes to home prices in this market, what goes up stays up,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “That's especially true in the Sun Belt; home prices are up more than 20% from last year in Austin and Phoenix. Even with these steep increases, homes in these areas are still relatively affordable, so these and other hot migration destinations are going to continue to attract homebuyers from the coasts. As workers change jobs en masse and enhanced unemployment benefits come to an end, we could see even more households relocate for affordability in the coming months.”

Seasonally-adjusted home sales were also down 1.4% from July. Compared to August 2020, home sales fell in 44 of the 85 largest metro areas Redfin tracks, according to the report. The biggest sales declines were seen in New Orleans, LA (-23%), Salt Lake City, UT (-16%) and Warren, MI (-14%). The largest gains were in places where sales were still somewhat depressed in August 2020, including New York, NY (+65%), Honolulu, HI (+47%) and Nassau County, NY (+32%).

Measures of housing market competition based on completed home sales eased further in August from all-time records set in June. The typical home that sold in August went under contract in 16 days—about half as much time as a year earlier, when homes sold in a median 31 days, but up one day from the record low in June.

In August, 52% of homes sold above list price, down 4% from the record high in June but up 20% from a year earlier. The average sale-to-list price ratio also dipped slightly in July to 101.6%, down from a record high of 102.5% in June but up from 99.2% a year earlier.

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