WASHINGTON (7/23/15)--Home prices continue to rise, as do existing-home sales, according to reports released Wednesday for June by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and for May by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
June sales for existing homes increased 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million--the highest pace in more than eight years, said NAR. May sales were downwardly revised to 5.32 million.
The sales are the highest since 579 million homes were sold in February 2007. Year-over-year sales have increased for the past nine months and are 9.6% above the 5.01 million homes sold in June 2014, said NAR.
“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,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. He noted June’s sales were “likely propelled by the spring’s initial phase of rising mortgage rates, which usually prods some prospective buyers to buy now rather than wait until later when borrowing costs could be higher.”
The median house price for June was $236,400 or 6.5% above June 2014. It was the 40th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Median sales peaked at $230,400 in July 2006.
The FHFA house price index rose 0.4%, seasonally adjusted, to 222.8 in May from April’s 0.4% increase, revised from April’s original 0.3% estimate, said FHFA. Year-over-year prices were up 5.7%. The U.S. index is 1.8% below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as April’s level.
The monthly index rose in six of the nine Census regions, with the East North Central and South Atlantic regions leading the growth at 1.1% and 0.9% growth, respectively, said FHFA. Prices fell in May for the East South Central, Middle Atlantic and New England regions. Year-over-year growth increased for all nine regions.
Existing home sales reflect completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, said NAR. The FHFA house price index reflects home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.