The existing home sales report released by the National Association of Realtors for August 2017 indicates another decline in real estate activity across the nation.
NAR reported that for the fourth time during the last five months, existing home sales decreased by 1.7 percent in August.
The red-hot real estate markets across the country may offer buyers and sellers the perception that all is well in the nationwide housing market.
While the high demand for properties is good news, the fact that it is often being caused by dangerously low inventory levels is not a positive sign. NAR says it’s those low supply levels that are causing the housing markets across the country to cool down, as prices are on the rise and there’s simply not enough existing real estate to go around.
Couple that with the fact that the housing market almost always slows down at the end of the summer and the country was slammed with two devastating hurricanes, and it’s not surprising that activity dwindled a bit in August.
Existing Home Sales August 2017: Facts and Figures
- The median price for all types of existing properties on the market was $253,500, which represents a 5.6 percent increase from August 2016.
- About 1.88 million homes were listed on the market, representing a 2.1 percent decline in inventory levels during the month of August. Existing home inventory has decreased by 6.5 percent since August 2016.
- About 51 percent of homes that were sold in August were on the market for less than a month. The average property was listed for 30 days before it sold. In August 2016, the average home was listed on the market for 36 days.
Housing market conditions are ideal for sellers who are not looking to buy another property, such as investors who own property and sell for a profit. However, these conditions continue to be frustrating for first-time buyers and homeowners who want to upgrade to larger, more valuable home.
In August, just 31 percent of all existing home sales were first-time home buyers, which is a decrease from a year ago when first-time buyers made up about 35 percent of existing home sales.
The decrease in first-time home buyers can be attributed to the fact that home prices are on the rise, inventory is low and competition is high.
Many first-time buyers do not always have the cash available to compete with more experienced home buyers, who may have equity in other property or who may have accrued more wealth since their last home purchase.
As always, specific housing market conditions will vary by region:
- The Northeast region showed a significant increase in market activity, with a 10.8 percent boost in existing home sales. The median sales price in the Northeast was $289,500.
- The Midwest region came in second, showing a 2.4 percent increase in existing home sales. The median sales price in the Midwest was $200,500.
- The West region showed a market slow down, reporting a 4.8 percent decrease in existing home sales. The median sales price in the West was $374,700.
- The South region had a tough August, with a 5.7 percent decrease in existing home sales. The market in the South region, which includes Texas, was impacted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey late in the month. The median sales price in the South was $220,400.
According to the NAR, these were the hottest markets in the country for the month of August: San Jose, California, Seattle, Washington, Vallejo, California and San Francisco, California as well as Salt Lake City, Utah.