Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, steadily increased for the third consecutive month in July, according to the National Association of Realtors®. However, stubbornly low inventory levels and rising prices are likely to blame for sales to first-time buyers falling to their lowest share since January.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the increase in sales in July solidifies what has been an impressive growth in activity during this year’s peak buying season. “The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now,” he said. “As a result, current homeowners are using their increasing housing equity towards the downpayment on their next purchase.”
“The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face,” adds Yun. “Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a downpayment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options.”
Existing-home sales in the South increased 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 2.29 million in July, and are 9.6 percent above July 2014. The median price in the South was $203,500, up 7.0 percent from a year ago.
You can read the full report, Existing-Home Sales Maintain Solid Growth in July, on the NAR website.
Amy Garland is a member of the National Association of Realtors. For help with your Knoxville real estate needs contact her at (865) 257-0100 or by e-mail.