Existing home sales rose 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million in September, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales were spurred by a surge in first-time home buyers. Annual sales of homes increased across all regions, rising 5.7% in the Northeast, 3.9% in the Midwest, 0.9% in the South and 5.0% in the West.
“The home search over the past several months for a lot of prospective buyers, and especially for first-time buyers, took longer than usual because of the competition for the minimal amount of homes for sale,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Most families and move-up buyers look to close before the new school year starts. Their diminishing presence from the market towards the end of the summer created more opportunities for aspiring first-time homeowners to buy last month.”
The total housing inventory rose 1.5% to 2.04 million homes available for sale, while the median existing home price moved up 5.6% over the year to $234,200.
Distressed sales fell to 4% of the total in September, the lowest share since NAR began tracking them in 2008. Three percent of sales were foreclosures and 1% were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 15% and 11%, respectively.
Read the NAR release.
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