Existing-home sales flourished in July, with the median price continuing to see double-digit year-over-year increases, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales — which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — rose 6.5% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million units, up from a downwardly revised 5.06 million in June. Year-over-year, existing-home sales rose 17.2% from the 4.50 million-unit pace set in July 2012.
The impressive growth in existing-home sales would seem to suggest a continually improving housing market. But David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, believes it may be premature to assume this report is directly correlated with the current housing market.
Existing-home sales data tends to lag what’s happening in the market to some extent because the data takes into account when a buyer actually closes on the home.
The lag time for existing-home sales is typically 60-90 days, said Berson, meaning the report on July sales is actually more reflective of the housing market between April and June, when mortgage rates were significantly lower than they are today.