Lack of inventory, high prices push buyers out of the market again
National /September 22, 2021 02:00 by Sasha Jones
After rising for two straight months this summer, home sales are once again on the decline.
Total existing-home sales, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, fell 2 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million in August, according to the latest monthly report from the National Association of Realtors. On a year-over-year basis, sales dropped 1.5 percent.
The slowdown may be partially attributed to a lack of inventory. Total housing inventory at the end of August totaled 1.29 million units, down 1.5 percent from July’s supply and down 13.4 percent from a year ago.
The lack of inventory has continued to cause bidding wars and rising prices, driving some prospective homebuyers to the sidelines, awaiting more supply.
“Sales slipped a bit in August as prices rose nationwide,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Although there was a decline in home purchases, potential buyers are out and about searching, but much more measured about their financial limits, and simply waiting for more inventory.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $356,700, up 14.9 percent from August 2020’s $310,400. Prices increased in each of the report’s regions, marking 114 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in August, unchanged from July and down from 22 days a year ago. Eighty-seven percent of homes sold in August 2021 were on the market for less than a month.
Ruben Gonzalez, chief economist at Keller Williams, said that he expects year-over-year declines in home sales moving into the fall as there is a return to normal seasonal patterns.
”Overall we think home sales will remain strong going into next year, but we should see inventory levels continue to slowly trend toward more normal levels and home price appreciation begin to slow over time,” Gonzalez said in a statement.