Month of May
NAR’s Research Division has released statistics on existing home sales for the month of May.
While many encouraging new records were set, Realtors are concerned about the low numbers of first-time buyers purchasing homes this year.
According to NAR’s sampling of about 30 to 40 percent of all existing home real estate transactions, sales reached $5.62 million this May, a 1.1 percent month-over-month increase, and a 2.7 percent year-over-year increase, making May the third most lucrative month this year.
Condominium and co-op housing sales were also on the rise in May, with 640,000 sales, up from 630,000 sales in April.
Sales increased nationwide in all regions, with the exception of the Midwest.
Homes were selling extremely quickly this spring, with houses staying on the market for an average of 27 days, the shortest average since NAR began collecting this data in 2011.
Setting a new record, over half of homes sold in May were listed for less than one month.
Home sales were happening quickest in major metropolitan areas of Washington and California, such as Seattle, San Francisco-Oakland, and Santa Jose-Santa Clara, and in Utah.
The median sales price on existing single-family homes hit a new high in May, with prices averaging at $252,800, a 5.8 percent increase compared to last year.
NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, explained that a shortage of inventory has led to high prices and fast sales.
“Listings in the affordable price range are scares, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher,” says Yun.
While there were 2.1 percent more existing homes on the market in May than there were in April, there were still 8.4 percent less than in May 2017, and the inventory has been decreasing year-over-year for the past 24 months straight.
This shortage has made it particularly difficult for first-time buyers to afford a home.
First-time buyers make up only 35 percent of the total market share.
Advice from the pros
Said Yun, “it’s clear some would-be home buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.” At NAR’s recent Sustainable Homeownership Conference at the University of California Berkeley, NAR President William E. Brown also addressed the shortage of affordable housing for first-time buyers. “[S]ingle-family housing shortages will be the biggest challenge for prospective first-time buyers this year.”
His advice for home buyers? “[K]now what you can afford, lean on the guidance of a Realtor, and act fast once the ideal property within the budget is listed.”