Reflecting steep drops in the South and West, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Thursday showing U.S. existing home sales fell by more than expected in the month of June.
NAR said existing home sales tumbled by 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.16 million after inching up by 0.2 percent to a rate of 4.30 million in May. Economists had expected existing home sales to decrease to a rate of 4.23 million.
With the bigger than expected slump, existing home sales fell to their lowest level since hitting a rate of 4.00 million in January.
“The first half of the year was a downer for sure with sales lower by 23%,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Fewer Americans were on the move despite the usual life-changing circumstances.”
He added, “The pent-up demand will surely be realized soon, especially if mortgage rates and inventory move favorably.”
The bigger than expected decrease came as existing home sales in the South and West plunged by 5.4 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, existing home sales in the Midwest were unchanged and existing home sales in the Northeast jumped by 2.0 percent.
The report said total housing inventory at the end of June was 1.08 million units, unchanged from May but down 13.6 percent from 1.25 million a year ago.
The unsold inventory represents 3.1 months of supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.0 months in May and 2.9 months in June 2022.
“There are simply not enough homes for sale,” Yun said. “The market can easily absorb a doubling of inventory.”
NAR also said the median existing home price was $410,200 in June, slightly less than the record high of $413,800 a year ago.
“Limited supply is still leading to multiple-offer situations, with one-third of homes getting sold above the list price in the latest month,” Yun said.
The report said single-family home sales plunged by 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 3.72 million in June, while existing condominium and co-op sales tumbled by 2.2 percent to a rate of 440,000.
Next Wednesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of June.
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