- Dip in sales rate matches some economists’ expectations
- Median home prices rises 11.3% from year ago
- Supply of homes for sale continues to tighten
Existing home sales declined in September from August, falling 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday.
That compares with an upwardly revised August pace of 4.83 million sales. Many economists had forecast sales would be flat or down slightly in September.
However, median prices rose 11.3% year-over-year — to $183,900 last month — while the inventory of existing homes for sale fell 20% from a year ago.
“Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we’re experiencing a genuine recovery,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
Other recent data have signaled the housing industry is steadily gaining ground, though still far from the high levels that preceded the housing bust.
A report Wednesday showed builders started construction on homes at the fastest rate since July 2008. Applications for building permits — a sign of plans for future construction — also hit their highest rate since July 2008.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s purchases of mortgage bonds are keeping mortgage rates near historic lows.
The average rate on a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.37% this week, from 3.39% a week ago and just a hair above the record low of 3.36%, Freddie Mac reported Thursday. For a 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, the average rate is 2.66%. That is down from 2.7% a week ago.