US Existing Home Sales Fall for Eighth Straight Month in September as Mortgage Rates Breach 7 Percent

August US existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors fell 1.5% month-over-month in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.71 million (consensus 4.70 million) versus a downwardly revised 4.78 million (from 4.80 million) in August. That is the eighth straight month that existing home sales have fallen with the weakest pace of sales since 2012, according to NAR. Total sales in September were down 23.8% from a year ago. Higher interest rates are creating affordability pressures for prospective buyers. The US 30-year fixed mortgage rate hits a 20 year high of 7.22% yesterday on the surge in the 10-year yield. 

Home Sale

The median existing home price for all housing types increased 8.4% year-over-year, versus 8.4% in August, to $384,800, representing the 127th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. That is the longest-running streak on record. It was the third month in a row, however, that the median sales price faded after reaching a record high of $413,800 in June, the usual seasonal trend of prices trailing off after peaking in the early summer.

“The housing sector continues to undergo an adjustment due to the continuous rise in interest rates, which eclipsed 6% for 30-year fixed mortgages in September and are now approaching 7%,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 19 days in September, up from 16 days in August and 17 days in September 2021.

Data for September 2022

Highlights

  • Existing Home Sales Change Sep: 4.71M (est 4.70M; prev R 4.78M)
  • Existing Home Sales (M/M): -1.5% (est -2.1%; prev R -0.8%)
  • Median Home Price (Y/Y) (USD): 384.8K or +8.4% (prev 389.5K or +7.7%)
  • That is the eighth straight month that existing home sales have fallen.
United States Existing Home Sales
United States Existing Home Sales
  • The median existing home price for all housing types increased 8.4% year-over-year, versus 8.4% in August, to $384,800, representing the 127th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. That is the longest-running streak on record.
  • The median price for single-family homes increased 8.1% year-over-year to $391,000.
  • The inventory of homes for sale at the end of September was down 2.3% month-over-month at 1,250,000 units, and down 0.8% from a year ago.
  • Unsold inventory held steady at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace, versus 2.4 months in the same period a year ago. It is still well below the 6.0-months’ supply typically associated with a more balanced market.
  • First-time buyers accounted for 29% of sales in September, the same as in August and versus 28% in September 2021.
  • All-cash sales comprised 22% of transactions in September, down from 24% in August and up from 23% in September 2021.
  • 70% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month versus of 81% of homes sold in August, with properties typically remaining on the market for 19 days, up from 16 days in August and 17 days in September 2021.

Regional Breakdown

  • Existing home sales across regions: Northeast (-1.6%); Midwest (-1.7%); South (-1.9); and West (flat).
  • Median home prices by region year-over-year: Northeast (+8.3% to $418,500); Midwest (+6.9% to $281,500); South (+11.8% to $351,700); and West (+7.1% to $595,400).

Realtor.com®’s Market Trends Report in September shows that the largest year-over-year median list price growth occurred in Miami (+28.3%), Memphis (+27.3%) and Milwaukee (+27.0%). Phoenix reported the highest increase in the share of homes that had their prices reduced compared to last year (+32.3 percentage points), followed by Austin (+27.4 percentage points) and Las Vegas (+20.0 percentage points).

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

U.S. home-builder confidence fell for the ninth straight month in September to the lowest level since May 2020, the National Association of Home Builders said this week. About one-fourth of builders surveyed said they had reduced prices in the past month, NAHB said.

Housing starts, a measure of U.S. home-building, rose 12.2% in August from July, the Commerce Department said this week. Residential permits, which can be a bellwether for future home construction, fell 10%, however.


Existing home sales account for 90% of US transactions and are calculated on a contract close basis. New home sales account for the remaining 10% and are based on contract signings.

Existing-home sales include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR benchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

 Source: NAHB

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