In the United States, sales of previously occupied homes fell for the third straight month in August as rising mortgage rates, rising prices and a shortage of properties on the market shut out many potential buyers.
ByALEX VEIGA AP Business Editor
September 21, 2023, 10:29 a.m.
LOS ANGELES– In the United States, sales of previously occupied homes fell for the third straight month in August as rising mortgage rates, rising prices and a shortage of properties on the market discouraged many potential buyers.
Existing home sales fell 0.7% last month from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. That’s below the pace of 4.10 million economists expected, according to FactSet.
Sales fell 15.3% compared to the same month last year.
The national median sales price increased 3.9% from August of last year to $407,100, marking the third consecutive month the median price remained above $400,000.
“Housing prices continue to rise despite falling home sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Supply must essentially double to moderate the rise in house prices. »
The shortage of homes for sale has kept the market competitive, causing bidding wars in many places, particularly for the most affordable homes. About 31% of homes purchased last month sold for more than their list price, Yun said.
In total, there were 1.1 million homes on the market at the end of last month, down 0.9% from July and 14.1% from August last year, a indicated the NAR.
The latest real estate market figures prove once again that many house hunters are held back by a still low stock of homes for sale and by rising mortgage rates.
Since home sales typically take about a month to close once the contract is signed, the transactions in August occurred when the rate on a 30-year mortgage averaged just under 7%.
The average weekly rate on a 30-year home loan jumped to 7.23% last month, the highest level in more than 22 years, and has remained above 7% since August, according to the buyer of Freddie Mac mortgages.
High rates can add hundreds of dollars per month to costs for borrowers, limiting what they can afford in a market already unaffordable for many Americans. They also discourage homeowners who locked in those low rates two years ago from selling.