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Existing-home sales retreated 2.2% in July and 16.6% from one year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Monthly sales grew in the West but faded in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, while all four regions registered year-over-year sales declines.

Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops—fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.07 million in July.

“Two factors are driving current sales activity—inventory availability and mortgage rates,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Unfortunately, both have been unfavorable to buyers.”

Up 3.7% from June but down 14.6% from one year ago, total housing inventory registered was 1.11 million units at the end of July. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply, which is up from 3.1 months in June and 3.2 months one year ago.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $406,700, an increase of 1.9% from July 2022 at $399,000. Prices rose in the Northeast, Midwest, and South but remained unchanged in the West.

“Most homeowners continue to enjoy large wealth gains from recent years with little concern about home price declines,” Yun says. “However, many renters are concerned as they’re facing growing affordability challenges because of high interest rates.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 20 days in July, up from 18 days in June and 14 days in July 2022, according to NAR. In July, 74% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 30% of sales in July, up from 27% in June and 29% in July 2022. All-cash sales made up 26% of transactions in July, same as June but up from 24% in July 2022.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in July, down from 18% in June but up from 14% one year ago. Virtually unchanged from last month and the previous year, foreclosures and short sales represented 1% of sales in July.

"Affordability is the biggest issue facing home buyers. A typical buyer's principal-and-interest payment has more than doubled in four years," says Holden Lewis, home and mortgage expert, NerdWallet. "After a 20% down payment, someone buying the median-price house in July 2019, at that month's average mortgage rate, paid $1,041 a month in principal and interest. In July 2023, the monthly principal and interest was $2,130.”

Single-family home sales slid to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.65 million in July, down 1.9% from 3.72 million in June and 16.3% from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $412,300 in July, up 1.6% from July 2022.

In the Northeast, existing-homes sales slipped 5.9% from June to an annual rate of 480,000 in July, down 23.8% from July 2022. The median price in the Northeast was $467,500, up 5.5% from one year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest decreased by 3% from June to an annual rate of 960,000, falling 20% from the previous year. The median price in the Midwest was $304,600, up 3.9% from July 2022.

The South’s existing-home sales retracted 2.6% from one month prior to an annual rate of 1.86 million in July, a decline of 14.3% from July 2022. The median price in the South was $366,200, up 1.7% from July 2022.

In the West, existing-home sales increased 2.7% from the previous month to an annual rate of 770,000 in July, down 12.5% from the prior year. Unchanged from July 2022, the median price in the West was $610,500.