According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) sales of existing homes grew in July for a third straight month, while first-time home-buyer transactions fell to their lowest level since January, likely due to low inventory levels and rising prices.
Total existing-home sales (measuring transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) grew to 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million in July, up from a downwardly revised 5.48 million in June. July's sales kept the briskest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million), and have now increased year-over-year for ten straight months and are 10.3 percent higher than a year ago (5.07 million).
NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, indicated that July's sales growth solidifies impressive growth in activity during 2015's peak buying season. According to Yun, "The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now."
- The median existing-home price (all housing types) in July was $234,000, an increase of 5.6 percent over July 2014. July's price growth marks the 41st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
- Total housing inventory by the end of July fell 0.4 percent, to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 4.7 percent lower than a year ago (2.35 million). Unsold home inventory sits at a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, a decline from 4.9 months in June.
- The share of first-time buyers fell in July for a second consecutive month, dropping from 30 percent in June to 28 percent. A year ago, first-time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers.