US existing home sales surge 24.7% in July: realtors

A boom in sales of existing homes comes as supply tightens and prices rise
·1 min read

Sales of existing US homes surged a record 24.7 percent in July, the second straight record-breaking month amid a boom in sales nationwide, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Friday.

Sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops jumped to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million in July, as all regions saw double-digit increases compared to June, NAR said.

After dipping in April and May amid the pandemic shutdowns, sales resumed their upward climb in June, fueled by low borrowing rates.

"The housing market is well past the recovery phase and is now booming with higher home sales compared to the pre-pandemic days," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in the release.

He attributed some of the gains to "the sizable shift in remote work" causing some homeowners to look for larger homes.

Last month's increase put sales up 8.7 percent compared to July 2019 -- and only the Northeast experienced a year-over-year decline, according to the report.

Amid the high demand and continued low supply of homes, the median sales prices continued to move higher, increasing 8.5 percent in the month to $304,100.

The inventory of homes available for sale fell 2.6 percent compared to June and is down more than 21 percent from a year ago.

Other housing indicators have been booming as well, including new home sales, housing construction, homebuilder confidence and mortgage applications tallied by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni said "even with the recent pickup in the pace of homebuilding, the lack of inventory is going to continue to be a hurdle by limiting some prospective buyers' choices and weakening their purchasing power."

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