August home sales increased 5.8% over a year ago, reversing July's decline of 8.8%, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. At the same time, the median price climbed 5.1% as steady monthly increases continued.
August sales were up year-over-year in 41 of the 53 U.S. metro areas analyzed in the report. Twelve metro areas posted double-digit increases, including major markets along the east coast from Washington, D.C. to Charlotte, N.C. So far in 2016, seven of the eight months have seen year-over-year sales increases nationally.
The August median price climbed 5.1% to $225,900 from $215,000 seen in August last year. From January through August, the average year-over-year median price increase was 3.9%. Three Florida metro areas were among the seven posting double-digit increases.
Only four markets, including two in the Northeast, saw price declines. Inventory remained tight in August, averaging a 3.4 months supply. While 6 months is considered a balanced market, 23 of the 53 markets surveyed by RE/MAX reported less than half of that. In fact, seven cities had less than 2 months of inventory, including four on the West Coast.
"August's nearly 6% sales increase over last year is providing a strong finish for the summer home selling and buying season," said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman co-founder. "While July saw a decline, August built upon the trends in the spring and early summer. Coupled with moderating price increases, the sales growth we're seeing represents a market that's very sustainable."
In the 53 metro areas surveyed in August, the average number of home sales increased by 5.8% compared to one year ago, and was 2.8% higher than the previous month. To date in 2016, August was the seventh month with a year-over-year increase in sales. This month, 41 markets experienced an increase in sales with 12 markets seeing double-digit-increases in sales year-over-year. Those markets include Raleigh & Durham, N.C. +14.5%, Charlotte, N.C. +13.6%, Boise, ID +13.5%, Washington, D.C. +12.7%, Richmond, VA +12.6%, Providence, RI +12.5% and Phoenix, AZ +12.3%.
In August, the median of all 53 metro median prices was $225,900, up slightly at 0.4% from July 2016 and up 5.1% from August 2015. This 5.1% year-over-year rise is noticeably less than the 7.5% increases seen in August over the past two years. Additionally, of the 53 metro areas surveyed in August, only four had a year-over-year drop in median price. The remaining 49 metros reported higher prices than one year ago, with seven rising by double-digit percentages, including Tampa, FL +15.5%, Orlando, FL +14.1%, Charlotte, N.C. +11.8%, Denver, CO +11.7%, Miami, FL +11.6%, Portland, OR +11.5% and Dallas/Fort Worth, TX +10.4%.
The average days on market for homes sold in August was 54, up one day from the average in July 2016, and down five days from August 2015. August becomes the 41st consecutive month with an average of 80 or less. The two markets with the lowest average are Denver and Omaha at 24. The highest averages continue to be in Augusta, ME at 135, and Des Moines, IA at 93.
The number of homes for sale in August was down 4.2% from July, and down 16.6% from August 2015. Based on the rate of home sales in August, the months supply of inventory was 3.4, which is similar to both last month and last year at 3.5 and 4.1 respectively. A 6.0 month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. This month, 23 of the 53 metro areas had less than half of what is considered a balanced inventory supply. The markets with the lowest months supply are Denver, CO 1.4, San Francisco, CA 1.4, Seattle, WA 1.5, and Boston, MA 1.6.