Despite bidding wars in many areas of America, existing home sales dipped 0.9% from April to May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), marking the fourth month in a row of small declines. Meanwhile, amidst fears of a housing bubble, all regions saw double digital annual gains.
Sales are “approaching pre-pandemic activity,” said NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun. “Lack of inventory continues to be the overwhelming factor holding back home sales, but falling affordability is simply squeezing some first-time buyers out of the market.”
“The market’s outlook, however, is encouraging,” Yun continued. “Supply is expected to improve, which will give buyers more options and help tamp down record-high asking prices for existing homes.”
MBA AVP of Economic and Industry Forecasting, Joel Kan also sees a silver lining. He said, “One positive development was the 7 percent increase in for-sale inventory, which should slightly help price conditions.”
The median home price in May rose 23.6% over the year to $350,300, a record high and the 111th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
The average days on market was unchanged for the month, remaining at 17 days, down from 26 days in May 2020. Fully 89% of homes sold in the month were on the market for less than 30 days.
Dr. Yun expects the 30-year fixed rate mortgage to remain below 3.5% in 2021, with a rate of 2.96% in May, down from 3.06% in April, according to Freddie Mac.
In the Northeast, sales fell 1.4% in May, but skyrocketed 46.9% from May 2020. The median price rose 17.1% annually to $384,300.
The Midwest experienced a 1.6% uptick for the month, and 27.2% for the year. The median price rose 18.1% for the year to $268,500.
In the South, sales slid 0.4%, up a whopping 47.2% from May 2020. Here, the median price rose 22.6% to $299,400.
Finally, home sales in the West declined 4.1% for the month, but saw a 61.6% increase from the previous May. Sale prices rose 24.3% over the year to $505,600.
NAR recently called on lawmakers to take “immediate” and “once-in-a-generation” action regarding the current housing supply crisis, so we’ll be watching for how the market is impacted in coming months.