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Home sales and home prices are increasing by double digits, with homes flying off the market in record time. Existing-home sales increased for the fourth consecutive month in September, up nearly 21% compared to a year ago, the National Association of Realtors® reported on Thursday. All major regions of the U.S. saw month-over-month and annual gains in September. The Northeast experienced the largest increase in home sales.
“Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “I would attribute this jump to record‑low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home.”
Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—increased 9.4% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million in September, NAR’s index shows.
Home prices continued to surge amid strong buyer demand for housing. The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $311,800—a 14.8% increase from a year ago ($271,500). Home prices in every region were up last month, NAR reports.
Homebuyers continue to face scant choices. Total housing inventory at the end of September was 1.47 million units, which is down 19.2% compared to a year ago. Unsold inventory sits at a 2.7-month supply at the current sales pace.
“There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low,” Yun says. “To their credit, we have seen some homebuilders move to ramp up supply, but a need for even more production still exists.” (Read more: Homebuilding Is Booming, But Is It Enough?)
Vacation hotspots are garnering more attention and sales. Sales in vacation destination counties have accelerated since July—up 34% year over year in September, NAR reports.
“The uncertainty about when the pandemic will end, coupled with the ability to work from home, appears to have boosted sales in summer resort regions, including Lake Tahoe, Mid-Atlantic beaches (Rehoboth Beach, Myrtle Beach), and the Jersey shore areas,” Yun says.
Here are additional indicators from NAR’s latest housing report:
Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in September:
Source: National Association of Realtors, Realtor Magazine.
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