According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales improved 1.7% in August to an annual pace of 5.48 million units. Sales are 13.2% above year ago levels, and at their highest pace since February 2007. Sales have remained above year-ago levels for the past 26 months.
The details of the report across regions were mixed. The South and Midwest saw modest gains, rising 3.8% and 3.1% respectively. However, the Northeast remained stagnant and the West had a slight decline of 2.3%. All regions posted gains from year ago levels, signaling that rising interest rates impacted August’s growth, but the housing market is still improving from the recession.
Housing inventory declined slightly to 4.9 months in August, from 5.1 months in July. Housing supply is still at depressed levels.
Notably, NAR’s survey found that the share of distress sales is at its lowest level since the survey began in October 2008, dropping from 23% in August 2012 to 12% this August.
The national median existing –home price was $212,100, below the average vales the previous two months, but still 14.6% above year ago levels.
Read the NAR release.