Purchases by current homeowners helped bolster home prices in August, according to results from the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey.
“Current homeowner purchases are supporting the housing market,” said Tom Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “Metrics such as the sales-to-list price ratio show a strong housing market, particularly in western states. Nonetheless, forward-looking commentary from real estate agents may indicate some softening in the future.”
The market share for current homebuyers surged in the summer while the first-time homebuyer share declined. Current homeowners accounted for 49.3% of purchases in August, based on a three-month moving average after hitting a 12-month low of 44.9% in March.
The first-time homebuyer share was 38.3% in May – a level not seen since 2010. But higher home prices and seasonal patterns combined to push the first-time buyer share down to 36.4% in August. The investor share of home purchases has also fallen from 18.7% in March to 14.4% in August. NAR’s Realtor Confidence Index reported a 32 percent share for first-timers in August, up from 28 percent in July.
The sales-to-list price ratio for non-distressed properties declined modestly in August (to 98.3%) compared with the previous month (98.5%) but remained above the level seen in August 2014 (97.5%). All three states on the west coast maintained sales-to-list price ratios above 100% in August, led by California at 102.2%.
The median existing–home price for all housing types in August was $228,700, which is 4.7 percent above August 2014 ($218,400). August’s price increase marks the 42nd consecutive month of year–over–year gains.
The average time on market for non-distressed properties continued to decline in August, hitting 7.9 weeks compared with an average of 8.2 weeks the previous month and 8.6 weeks in August 2014. Non-distressed properties sold in the Pacific Northwest in August were on the market for an average of 4.5 weeks. NAR reported that properties typically stayed on the market for 47 days in August, an increase from 42 days in July but below the 53 days in August 2014. Forty percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
Meanwhile, the proportion of distressed properties started to level off. Real estate owned properties and short sales accounted for 16.6% of sales in August compared with a 16.8% share the previous month. In August 2014, distressed properties accounted for 21.7% of home sales.