Home Prices Reach an All-Time High
NAR | July 23, 2015
The rise in buyer demand combined with a limited number of homes for sale pushed the national median sales price above its 2006 peak and to a record high, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Market Snapshot for June Sales Median existing-home price: $236,400 Days on the market: 34 days (the median properties stayed on the market) All-cash sales: 22 percent of transactions, down from 32 percent a year ago Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales): 8 percent of sales, down from 11 percent a year ago Source: National Association of REALTORS® The median existing-home price for all housing types reached $236,400 in June – 6.5 percent above year ago levels and surpassing the peak median sales price set in July 2006 at $230,400. Along with a boost in home prices last month, existing-home sales also reached the highest pace in more than eight years. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, calls this year's spring buying season the strongest since the downturn. "Buyers have come back in force, leading to the strongest past two months in sales since early 2007," Yun says. "This wave of demand is being fueled by a year-plus of steady job growth and an improving economy that's giving more households the financial wherewithal and incentive to buy." Yun says that June's sales also likely got a boost by the spring's initial phase of rising mortgage rates. That "usually prods some prospective buyers to buy now rather than wait until later when borrowing costs could be higher," Yun says. Total sales of completed single-family, townhome, condo, and co-op transactions ticked up 3.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million and are nearly 10 percent above year ago levels. Sales also are the highest pace since February 2007. All major regions of the U.S. saw sales move higher in June. The number of homes for-sale across the country remains low, as housing inventories only saw a 0.9 percent increase in June to 2.30 million existing homes for-sale. Inventories are 0.4 percent higher than a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 5-month supply at the current sales pace. "Limited inventory amidst strong demand continues to push home prices higher, leading to declining affordability for prospective buyers," says Yun. "Local officials in recent years have rightly authorized permits for new apartment construction, but more needs to be done for condominiums and single-family homes." But with inventories still low, properties are selling faster. Forty-seven percent of homes sold in less than a month in June, according to NAR. Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in June, the shortest number of days since NAR began tracking in May 2011. Short sales had the longest days on the market with a median of 129 days, while foreclosures sold in 39 days. Non-distressed homes were on the market for 33 days. Chris Polychron, NAR's president, says that real estate professionals are reporting drastic imbalances of supply compared to buyer demand in several metro areas, most notably in the West. "The demand for buying has really heated up this summer, leading to multiple bidders and homes selling at or above the asking price," Polychron says. "Furthermore, tight inventory conditions are being exacerbated by the fact that some home owners are hesitant to sell because they’re not optimistic they'll have adequate time to find an affordable property to move into."