Existing Home Sales Rise

The latest data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) shows that existing-home sales “rose strongly” in July, while at the same time the median price for homes maintained double-digit year-over-year increases during the same period.

Overall existing-home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops, with the sales data indicating completed transactions. Total sales for all types of homes went up 6.5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million units; this was up from 5.06 million units in June. July’s figures were up 17.2 percent from the 4.60 million units in July of 2012. Existing-home sales have remained above year-ago levels for 25 straight months, says the NAR.

As a portion of the market, distressed homes, which include, foreclosures and short sales, accounted for 15 percent of July sales, this was the same percentage as in June. Foreclosures accounted for 9.0 percent of sales with short sales making up 6.0 percent. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in July, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.

The NAR says the 15 percent market share for distressed homes matches the lowest share since monthly tracking began in October 2008. One year ago (July 2012) distressed sales accounted for 24 percent of market share.

NAR data shows that all-cash sales comprised 31 percent of all transactions in July, the same as in June. For the same time period one year ago all-cash transactions were 27 percent of all sales. “Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in July, down from 17 percent in June; they reached a cyclical peak of 22 percent in February of this year.”

First-time buyers, which normally account for at least for 40 percent of existing-home purchases monthly/annually, are still under-represented in the purchase market accounting for only 29 percent of purchases in July, this was unchanged from June, but has dropped precipitously from 34 percent in July 2012.