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September 2018 US Real Estate Market Update

Note: September 2018 data below are the most recent released by the National Association of Realtors.

Existing Home Sales

Existing-home sales declined in September after a month of stagnation in August, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions saw no gain in sales activity.

Total existing-home sales (transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) did not change from July and remained at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million in August. Sales are now down 1.5 percent from a year ago (5.42 million in August 2017).

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun says rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across all regions of the country. “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $258,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2017 ($247,600). September’s price increase marks the 79th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Inventory

Total housing inventory at the end of September decreased from 1.91 million in August to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.86 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 last month and 4.2 months a year ago. Properties typically stayed on the market for 32 days in September, up from 29 days in August but down from 34 days a year ago. Forty-seven percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

Mortage Rates

Per Freddie Mac data, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.63 percent in September from 4.55 percent in August. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent. First-time buyers were responsible for 32 percent of sales in September, up from last month (31 percent) and a year ago (29 percent).

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