Why are existing home sales falling in the US?

by Steve Randall on 22 Oct 2018

Sales of existing homes in the United States declined in September following a stagnant August.

The National Association of Realtors says that sales fell 3.4% month-over-month and 4.1% year-over-year to 5.37 million (SAAR).

Despite a slight rise in inventory it seems that buyers are cautious about rising mortgage rates and – even with improved choice of homes available – continued tight supply.

"There is a clear shift in the market with another month of rising inventory on a year over year basis, though seasonal factors are leading to a third straight month of declining inventory," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Homes will take a bit longer to sell compared to the super-heated fast pace seen earlier this year."

The median price of existing homes for all housing types was up 4.2% year-over-year in September and that means more pressure for first-time buyers, who made up a 32% share of buyers in September, still underwhelming.

"Rising interests rates coupled with increasing home prices are keeping first-time buyers out of the market, but consistent job gains could allow more Americans to enter the market with a steady and measurable rise in inventory," added Yun.

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