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Existing-Home Sales Dip in August, Yet Home Prices Surge

Christine Stuart
Sep 21, 2023

As existing-home sales dip further, median prices rise unabated.

Existing-home sales declined 0.7% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Down 15.3% from one year ago, this is the fourth consecutive month of sales declines.   

The median existing-home price rose 3.9% in August to $407,100, up from $391,700 in August 2022. This is the 127th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

“Home sales have been stable for several months, neither rising nor falling in any meaningful way,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rate changes will have a big impact over the short run, while job gains will have a steady, positive impact over the long run. The South had a lighter decline in sales from a year ago due to greater regional job growth since coming out of the pandemic lockdown.”

Total housing inventory at the end of August was 1.1 million units, down 0.9% from July and down 14.1% from one year ago. This represents a 3.3-month supply of homes at the current sales pace.

First-time buyers accounted for 29% of sales in August, down from 30% in July and identical to August 2022. All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in August, up from 26% in July and 24% in August 2022.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.18% as of September 14, up from 7.12% the prior week and 6.02% one year ago. 

Meanwhile, the median existing-home sales price climbed 3.9% from one year ago to $407,100 – the third consecutive month the median sales price surpassed $400,000.

"Home prices continue to march higher despite lower home sales," Yun said. "Supply needs to essentially double to moderate home price gains."

Regional Breakdown

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales were unchanged from July at an annual rate of 480,000 units in August, down 22.6% from one year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $465,700, up 5.8% from one year ago.
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales increased 1.0% from the previous month to an annual rate of 970,000 units in August, down 16.4% from the prior year. The median price in the Midwest was $305,300, up 6.8% from August 2022.
  • South: Existing-home sales faded 1.1% from July to an annual rate of 1.84 million in August, a decrease of 12.4% from one year ago. The median price in the South was $366,100, up 3.2% from August 2022.
  • West: Existing-home sales slumped 2.6% from the previous month to an annual rate of 750,000 units in August, down 15.7% from the prior year. The median price in the West was $609,300, up 1.0% from August 2022.
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