A report released by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday showed a continued decrease in U.S. existing home sales in the month of September.
NAR said existing home sales slid 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.71 million in September after falling by 0.8 percent to a revised rate of 4.78 million in August.
Economists had expected existing home sales to slump by 2.1 percent to a rate of 4.70 million from the 4.80 million originally reported for the previous month.
Existing home sales declined for the eighth consecutive month, falling to their lowest level since spring of 2020.
“The housing sector continues to undergo an adjustment due to the continuous rise in interest rates, which eclipsed 6% for 30-year fixed mortgages in September and are now approaching 7%,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales.”
The report showed decreases in existing home sales in the Northeast, Midwest and South, while existing home sales in the West were unchanged from the previous month.
NAR also said housing inventory at the end of September totaled 1.25 million units, down 2.3 percent from 1.28 million units at the end of August and down 0.8 percent from 1.26 million units a year ago.
The unsold inventory represents 3.2 months of supply at the current sales rate, unchanged from August but up from 2.4 months in September 2021.
Meanwhile, the report said the median existing home price in September was $384,800, down 1.8 percent from August but up 8.4 percent year-over-year.
“Despite weaker sales, multiple offers are still occurring with more than a quarter of homes selling above list price due to limited inventory,” Yun said.
He added, “The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010, when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.”
The report also showed single-family home sales fell by 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.22 million in September, while existing condominium and co-op sales plunged by 5.8 percent to a rate or 490,000.
Next Wednesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of September.
Economists currently expect new home sales to tumble by 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 651,000 in September after soaring by 28.8 percent to a rate of 685,000 in August.
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