A recent report released by the National Association of Realtors® reveals a decline in the number of home sales across the nation in September 2018, following a “month of stagnation in August.” The number of sales, which are composed of closed transactions of single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, were down 4.1 percent from September 2017.
In a statement, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “this is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015. A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”
To be sure, rising mortgage interest rates are a concern to many prospective buyers, as the average rate of a 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.63 percent in September, after remaining below 4 percent last year. On a national level, home prices increased for the seventy-ninth consecutive month in September 2018, with a median of $258,100. Despite first time homebuyers expressing concern over affordability, they accounted for 32 percent of home sales in September, up from both last month and last year. Distressed sales (defined as foreclosures and short sales) accounted for just 3 percent of sales, the lowest since NAR began tracking these stats a decade ago.
· In the Northeast, the number of home sales fell by 2.9 percent while the median sales price increased 4.1 percent from September 2017 at $286,200.
· The number of home sales in the Midwest remained steady from the previous month, but was down 1.5 percent from September 2017; the median sales price of $200,000 was just under 2 percent higher than the previous year.
· Moving to the South, the median sales price rose 3 percent from the previous year (at $223,900) with the number of sales decreasing 5.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.
· In the West, the median sales price was up 4.1 percent from last year, at $388,500, with home sales falling a staggering 12.2 percent compared to September 2017.