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Existing home sales on the rise in August; on pace to beat last year

Dennis NormanSt. Louis home sales in August were up 20.7 percent from a year ago according to today’s home sales for major metropolitan report from the National Association of REALTORS®.  St. Louis’ increase in home sales topped the increase nationally which was 18.6 percent from a year ago.  St. Louis home pricesin August came in at a median of $132,700, down 1.6 percent from a year ago.  Nationally, median home prices were down 5.1 percent from a year ago.

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US home prices decrease for second-consecutive month….

The median home price in the U.S. in August was $168,300, a decrease of 1.7 percent from the month before and a decrease of 5.1 percent from a year ago when the median price was $177,300.

US Supply and Inventory of Homes for sale decreases….

The number of existing homes on the market decreased in August by 3.0 percent to 3.577 million homes, and is down 13.1 percent from a year ago when there were 4.117 million homes for sale. Additionally, the months supply of homes on the market decreased by 10.5 percent to 8.5 months from 9.5 months the month and is down 27.4 percent from a year ago when the supply was 11.7 months.  Once again, St. Louis is doing better than the U.S. average with a 7.6 month supply of homes for sale in the core St Louis market.

Metro Home Sales and Prices –

NAR publishes existing home sales for major metropolitan areas of the U.S. Highlights from that report for August include:

  • For the second month in a row, all metro’s saw an increase in sales from a year ago with Minneapolis-St. Paul leading the way again with a whopping 44.1 percent increase in sales.
    • Indianapolis had the second largest year-over-year sales increase at 33.5 percent .
    • Houston came in third with a 32.6 percent increase in sales.
  • Five metros (up from 4 the prior month) saw year-over-year increases in home prices.
    • San Antoinio, TX, for the second-consecutive month, saw the largest one-year increase in home prices this month with a 3.6 percent increase, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth and Washington D.C., both with a 0.3 percent increase.
    • Phoenix, AZ, for the second-consecutive month, saw the biggest one-year decrease in home prices this month, with a decline of 11.6 percent from the year before, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul with a 10.2 percent decline and New Orleans with a 9.2 percent decline.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there are some positive market fundamentals. “Some of the improvement in August may result from sales that were delayed in preceding months, but favorable affordability conditions and rising rents are underlying motivations,” he said. “Investors were more active in absorbing foreclosed properties. In additional to bargain hunting, some investors are in the market to hedge against higher inflation.”

The following are the ACTUAL Existing Home sales for August, 2011 reported by NAR without any adjustment or fluff:

  • There were 502,000 existing homes sold during the month which is an increase of 9.6 percent from the month before and a 23.1 percent increase from a year ago.
  • Through August of 2011, there have been 3,351,000 homes sold, an increase of 4.3 percent from the same time last year when there were 3,212,000 homes sold.
  • Below are highlights from each region for the month;
    • Northeast – 82,000 homes sold, a decrease of 3.5 percent from the prior month a increase of 12.3 percent from the year before.
    • Midwest – 108,000 homes sold, an increase of 3.8 percent from the prior month and an increase of 30.1 percent from the year before.
    • South – 195,000 homes sold, an increase of 12.7 percent from the prior month and an increase of 19.6 percent from the year before.
    • West – 117,000 homes sold, an increase of 21.9 percent from the prior month and an increase of 23.2 percent from the year before.

Other highlights of the NAR Report for August 2011:

  • Distressed sales accounted for 31 percent of all home sales for the month, up from 29 percent the month before.
  • First-Time homebuyers accounted for 32 percent of the home sales for the month, same as the month before.
  • Investors were the buyers of 22 percent of the homes for the month, up from 18 percent the month before.
  • Repeat home buyers were responsible for approximately 50 percent of the month’s sales, the same as the month before.
  • Cash buyers were 29 percent of all sales for the month, same as the month before.

My Take On the Numbers:

I’ve been saying for a while that the market had found it’s bottom, albeit a rocky bottom. While I don’t want to get too excited over just one month of good numbers, I will say I’m very encouraged by August home sales. Not only is the “seasonally adjusted’ rate of sales up, but for the first time in a long time, actual home sales are running at a pace that exceeds the prior year! Granted, a good chunk of this activity is the result of purchases by investors but that is good too, no matter how it goes we need the inventory to go. Speaking of inventory, it’s great to see the month’s supply decreasing as well; 8.5 months is still about 2 months higher then I think it needs to be, but it’s going the right direction. As far as home prices, I’m not surprised to see them continue to decline and we probably still have a little ways to go there. Hopefully we will see some stability in sales and then some stability in prices should follow.

For complete info and data on St. Louis Home Prices and the St. Louis Housing Market, check out the resources below:

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1 comment to Existing home sales on the rise in August; on pace to beat last year

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