Ex-US home sales rose for a second month in July, suggesting firmer demand for residential property as inventory restrictions showed signs of easing.
Deals rose 2% month-over-month to an annualized 5.99 million, a four-month high, according to the National Association of Realtors figures on Monday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg poll of economists called for a rate of 5.83 million in July.
The data suggests that low borrowing costs and the demand for more space continue to underpin home buying for those with the opportunity and the change to trade.
The limited number of homes for sale is a persistent headwind for the housing market, driving up asking prices and reducing affordability. July inventory spikes are typical at this time of year, the NAR said.
"The housing sector seems to be calming down," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, on a conference call. The number of available homes, a key factor in the housing construction recovery, is increasing slightly, he said.
The average sales price of a previously owned home increased 17.8% year over year to $ 359,900 in July.
High home prices put a brake on demand. According to a University of Michigan consumer confidence survey, consumer attitudes toward home buying conditions in early August were the most negative ever.
Last month there were 1.32 million apartments for sale, an increase of 7.3% on the previous month and the highest value since October. Nevertheless, the inventory is well below the level of the previous year. At the current rate, it would take 2.6 months to sell all of the homes in the market. Brokers see anything under five months as a sign of a tight market.
In July, the properties stayed on the market for an average of only 17 days, unchanged from the previous month. Almost 90% of homes sold last month were in the market for less than a month, the NAR said.
Cash sales accounted for 23% of transactions in July, up from 16% last year, further highlighting the scramble to buy in a hot real estate market.
"Much of the growth in home sales is still happening in the upper markets, while the mid-to-lower ranges are not seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter properties available," Yun said in a statement.
Tradewinds General Contracting of Homes in the Avimor Community in Biose, Idaho, USA, on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021. From wood to paint to concrete, the cost of almost every single item that goes into building a home in the US is rising flows upwards. In some cases, price increases have exceeded 100% since the pandemic began. Photographer: Bloomberg / Bloomberg
Bloomberg / Photographer: Bloomberg / Bloomber
Previously owned single-family home sales rose 2.7% to 5.28 million last month. Existing condos and cooperatives fell 2.7% in July. Purchases also increased in the west and south. Existing home sales make about 90 % of US housing construction and will be charged upon conclusion of the contract. The new home sales, which make up the rest, are based on contract signing and will be released on Tuesday