Existing-Home Sales Declines for Eighth Month In Row in September; Northeast Sales Fall 1.6%
Real Estate In-Depth | October 20, 2022
WASHINGTON—Existing-home sales fell in September, the eighth month in a row of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors. Three out of the four major U.S. regions notched month-over-month sales contractions, while the West held steady. On a year-over-year basis, sales dropped in all regions.
Existing-home sales in the Northeast dwindled 1.6% from August to an annual rate of 610,000 in September, retreating 18.7% from September 2021.
Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, retracted 1.5% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.71 million in September. Year-over-year, sales waned by 23.8% (down from 6.18 million in September 2021).
“The housing sector continues to undergo an adjustment due to the continuous rise in interest rates, which eclipsed 6% for 30-year fixed mortgages in September and are now approaching 7%,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales.”
Total housing inventory registered at the end of September was 1.25 million units, which was down 2.3% from August and 0.8% from the previous year. Unsold inventory sits at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace—unchanged from August and up from 2.4 months in September 2021.
“Despite weaker sales, multiple offers are still occurring with more than a quarter of homes selling above list price due to limited inventory,” Yun added. “The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010, when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $384,800, an 8.4% jump from September 2021 ($355,100), as prices climbed in all regions. This marks 127 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record. It was the third month in a row, however, that the median sales price faded after reaching a record high of $413,800 in June, the usual seasonal trend of prices trailing off after peaking in the early summer.
Properties typically remained on the market for 19 days in September, up from 16 days in August and 17 days in September 2021. Seventy percent of homes sold in September 2022 were on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales in September, unchanged from August 2022 and slightly higher than 28% from September 2021. NAR’s 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2021—found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34%.
All-cash sales accounted for 22% of transactions in September, down from 24% in August and 23% in September 2021.
Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in September, down from 16% in August, but up from 13% in September 2021.
Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—represented 2% of sales in September, a marginal increase from 1% in August 2022 and September 2021.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.11% in September, up from 5.22% in August. The average commitment rate across all of 2021 was 2.96%.
Realtor.com’s Market Trends Report in September showed that the largest year-over-year median list price growth occurred in Miami (+28.3%), Memphis (+27.3%) and Milwaukee (+27.0%). Phoenix reported the highest increase in the share of homes that had their prices reduced compared to last year (+32.3 percentage points), followed by Austin (+27.4 percentage points) and Las Vegas (+20.0 percentage points).
Single-Family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.22 million in September, down 0.9% from 4.26 million in August and down 23.0% from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $391,000 in September, up 8.1% from September 2021.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 units in September, down 5.8% from August and 30.0% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $331,700 in September, an annual increase of 9.8%.
“Buying or selling a home involves a series of requirements and variables, and it’s important to have someone in your corner from start to finish to make the process as smooth as possible,” said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith, a Realtor from Plano, Texas, and a broker associate at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Dallas. “Realtors rely on in-depth knowledge of the market and objectivity to deliver trusted expertise to consumers in every U.S. ZIP code.”
Existing-home sales in the Northeast dwindled 1.6% from August to an annual rate of 610,000 in September, retreating 18.7% from September 2021. The median price in the Northeast was $418,500, an increase of 8.3% from one year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest slid 1.7% from the previous month to an annual rate of 1,140,000 in September, falling 19.7% from September 2021. The median price in the Midwest was $281,500, up 6.9% from the prior year.
In the South, existing-home sales pulled back 1.9% in September from August to an annual rate of 2,080,000, a decline of 23.8% from this time last year. The median price in the South was $351,700, an increase of 11.8% from September 2021.
Existing-home sales in the West were identical to last month at an annual rate of 880,000 in September, but down 31.3% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $595,400, a 7.1% increase from September 2021.