WASHINGTON (9/22/15)--Existing-home sales underwhelmed in August, dropping by 4.8% from July, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Single-family homes led the declines with a 5.3% drop in sales, followed by multifamily sales, which fell by 1.3% during the month (Economy.com Sept. 21).
On a yearly basis, overall sales climbed 6.2% in August.
“While existing-home sales and prices are still trending upward, the decline in totals for August is disappointing and indicates that the long-awaited pickup in the housing market recovery is still in the future, and that demand is not yet increasing,” said Andres Carbacho-Burgos, Moody’s analyst (Economy.com).
“Indicative of this caution is the Mortgage Bankers Association purchase mortgage applications index, which is up year over year but has trended flat for the past six months,” he added.
Existing single-family home sales remain up by 6.1% on an annual basis, while multifamily home sales are up 6.9%.
The South and West drove the monthly declines, meanwhile, with existing-home sales falling 7.8% and 6.6% respectively in those regions. Sales also fell 1.5% in the Midwest in August and stood flat in the Northeast.
Rising prices may have helped hold down existing-home sales, as the median existing-home price in August rose 4.7% on a yearly basis, compared with a 4.6% increase in July.
Furthermore, the average price for homes increased 3.1% on a year-over-year basis in August.
Shortages in construction materials could slow down residential construction and in turn boost home prices as well, according to Carbacho-Burgos (Economy.com).