Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased in May to their highest pace in nearly six years, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The boost is credited in part to an increase increase in the share of sales to first-time buyers.
The percent share of first-time buyers rose to 32 percent in May, up from 30 percent in April and matching the highest share since September 2012. A year ago, first-time buyers represented 27 percent of all buyers.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says “Solid sales gains were seen throughout the country in May as more homeowners listed their home for sale and therefore provided greater choices for buyers,” he said. “However, overall supply still remains tight, homes are selling fast and price growth in many markets continues to teeter at or near double-digit appreciation.
“The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low downpayment programs,” said Yun. “More first-time buyers are expected to enter the market in coming months, but the overall share climbing higher will depend on how fast rates and prices rise.”
Existing-home sales in the South increased 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.18 million in May, and are 6.9 percent above May 2014. The median price in the South was $198,300, up 8.2 percent from a year ago.
You can read the full report, Existing-Home Sales Bounce Back Strongly in May as First-time Buyers Return, on the NAR website. You can also watch NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun’s video report here: http://youtu.be/6aVw6WZtKEU
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.