Real Estate

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Fall for the Fifth Straight Month in June

The numbers: U.S. existing-home sales fell 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million in June, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal were expecting sales to be 5.36 million.

This is the weakest level of sales since June 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Outside of the pandemic, the sales number weakest since January 2019.

Compared with June 2021, home sales were down 14.2%.

This is the fifth straight monthly decline and comes as mortgage rates have spiked and inventories remain low.

Key details: The median price for an existing home rose to a record $416,000 up 13.4% from June 2021. Prices are continuing to rise but are at slower rate.

The number of homes on the market rose 9.6% to 1.26 million units in June. This is up 2.4% from a year ago, the first year-over-year gain in three years.

Expressed in terms of the months-supply metric, there was a 3-month supply of homes for sale in June, up from 2.6 months in May. Before the pandemic, a four-month supply was more the norm.

Homes remained on the market only for 14 days on average, down from 16 days last month. Pre-pandemic, the average time for homes to remain on the market was a month.

There were no regions of the country that saw gains in June. Sales were unchanged in the Northeast and fell in the other three regions.

All-cash transactions made up 25% of all transactions, unchanged from May. About 30% of homes were sold to first-time home buyers, up from 27% in the prior month.


Watch: Inflation Hits Highest Level Since 1981: This Week in the Economy and Real Estate


Big picture: The housing sector is in the midst of a sharp slowdown.

Borrowing costs are still high, with mortgage rates surging, making homes less affordable. The Mortgage Bankers Association said the average contract rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.82%.

Meanwhile, construction on new homes continues to fall in the month of June, coupled with increasing gloominess among homebuilders—both putting pressure on supply.

What the realtors said: The drop in existing home sales was “clearly due to the plunging affordability,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, said, primarily driven by higher home prices and mortgage rates.

The high rates have “shifted the dynamics in the housing market,” he added.

Yun said the NAR sees more inventory growth and continued price deceleration in future months. Home sales were likely to continue to fall as long as mortgage rates increase.

Yun said he thinks price appreciation will slow to 5% by the end of the year and perhaps a little lower in 2023. But Yun said he was not forecasting a nationwide price decline.

What are they saying? “It is quite clear that with affordability diminished even further by the rise in mortgage interest rates and inventories which, although higher, remain lean, existing home sales have slowed sharply, and there is further room to the downside,” Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corporation, said in a note.

Moody added that the inventory numbers indicate that “sellers are no longer as securely in the driver’s seat as they had been over the prior several months.”

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both down in early trading on Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.976% in early trading.

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