US Existing Home Sales Jump

US Existing Home Sales Jump

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By Francys Vallecillo | August 21, 2013 12:00 PM ET

Existing-home sales in the U.S. increased 6.5 percent July from June, while the median price was up 13.7 percent from a year ago, according to the latest numbers from the National Association of Realtors. 

The total number of completed existing home sales including transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.39 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.06 million in June.

The number of sales was 17.2 percent higher than the 4.60 million-unit pace last year, representing the 25th month of consecutive yearly increases. 

The recent increase in sales were prodded by the increase in mortgage rates. 

"Mortgage interest rates are at the highest level in two years, pushing some buyers off the sidelines," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said in the release. "The initial rise in interest rates provided strong incentive for closing deals."  

Further increases to mortgage rates could decrease the number of eligible buyers for the market, NAR said. However, after weeks of fluctuation Freddie Mac announced last week the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 4.40 percent.

The national median existing-home prices for all types was $213,500 in July, 13.7 percent higher than last year, marking the 17th consecutive month of yearly increases. The median price is now a slight 7.3 below the all-time record of $230,400 in July 2006. 

The median time spend on the market for all homes was 42 days in July, higher than the 37 days the previous month, but 39 percent less than a year ago. Other market indicators remained unchanged from June.

"The overall percentage of cash purchases has been fairly steady, as has the share of first-time buyers, but the investor share has been trending down since February," NAR president Gary Thomas said in the release. "This means more repeat buyers are using cash in this tight-credit environment."

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