Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops— fell 0.7% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Compared with one year ago, sales dropped 15.3%.
Among the four major U.S. regions, sales improved in the Midwest, were unchanged in the Northeast, and slipped in the South and West. All four regions recorded year-over-year sales declines.
"Home sales have been stable for several months, neither rising nor falling in any meaningful way," says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Mortgage rate changes will have a big impact over the short run, while job gains will have a steady, positive impact over the long run. The South had a lighter decline in sales from a year ago due to greater regional job growth since coming out of the pandemic lockdown."
At the end of August, total housing inventory registered at 1.1 million units, down 0.9% from July and 14.1% from one year ago (1.28 million). At the current sales pace, unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply, unchanged from July and up from 3.2 months in August 2022.
With all four U.S. regions posting price increases, the median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $407,100, an increase of 3.9% from August 2022 at $391,700.
“It's difficult to buy a home nowadays because there's a shortage of dwellings for sale, forcing buyers to bid up prices as they compete against one another. The median home price was up 3.9% in August compared to 12 months earlier,” says Holden Lewis, home and mortgage expert, NerdWallet.
"Meanwhile, there were 180,000 fewer homes for sale compared to a year earlier. Homeowners are keeping their homes off the market because they don't want to give up the low mortgage rates they got when they bought or refinanced a few years ago,” Lewis adds.
Unchanged from July and up from 16 days one year prior, properties typically remained on the market for 20 days in August, according to the Realtors Confidence Index. In August, 72% of homes were on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers made up 29% of sales in August, down from 30% the month prior and unchanged from August 2022. All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in August, up from 26% in July and 24% last August.
Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in August, the same share as in July and one year ago. Unchanged from last month and the previous year, distressed sales represented 1% of sales in August.
Single-family home sales decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.6 million in August, down 1.4% from 3.65 million in July and 15.3% from August 2022. Up 3.7% from one year ago, the median existing single-family home price was $413,500 in August.
At an annual rate of 480,000 in August, existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged from the month prior but down 22.6% from August 2022. The median price in the Northeast was $465,700, up 5.8% from one year ago.
Down 16.4% from the prior year, the Midwest’s existing-home sales increased by 1% from the previous month to an annual rate of 970,000 in August. The median price in the Midwest was $305,300, up 6.8% from August 2022.
Existing-home sales in the South fell 1.1% from July to an annual rate of 1.84 million in August, dropping 12.4% from one year ago. The median price in the South was $366,100, up 3.2% from August 2022.
In the West, existing-home sales slumped 2.6% from the previous month to an annual rate of 750,000 in August, retreating 15.7% from the prior year. Up 1% from August 2022, the median price in the West was $609,300.