US Existing Home Sales Fell 0.7% in August, High Mortgage Rates and House Prices Impacting

US existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors decreased 2.2% month-over-month in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.07 million (consensus 4.15 million) from an unrevised 4.16 million in June. Sales were down 16.6% from the same period a year ago. Inventory of existing homes for sale remains extremely tight, due partially to the strength of the labor market (and ability to work remotely) and affordability with higher mortgage rates. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.09% as of August 17. That’s up from 6.96% the prior week and 5.13% one year ago.

Home Sale

Data for August 2023


  • Existing home sales decreased 0.7% lower from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.04 million units in August 2023, the lowest level since January and below market expectations of 4.1 million.
  • Sales fell for a third consecutive month, weighed by high mortgage rates and house prices.
  • Single-family home sales fell 1.4% to 3.60 million
  • Condominium and co-op sales rose 4.8% to 440K.
  • Total housing inventory registered at the end of August was 1.1 million units, down 0.9% from July.
  • Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace, identical to July.
  • Median existing-home price for all housing types was $407,100, an increase of 3.9% from August 2022.
  • According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.18% as of September 14. That’s up from 7.12% the prior week and 6.02% one year ago.
United States Existing Home Sales
United States Existing Home Sales

“Home sales have been stable for several months, neither rising nor falling in any meaningful way,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rate changes will have a big impact over the short run, while job gains will have a steady, positive impact over the long run. The South had a lighter decline in sales from a year ago due to greater regional job growth since coming out of the pandemic lockdown.”.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales waned to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.60 million in August, down 1.4% from 3.65 million in July and 15.3% from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $413,500 in August, up 3.7% from August 2022.

Existing condominium and co-op sales recorded a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units in August, up 4.8% from July but down 15.4% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $354,600 in August, up 6.2% from the prior year ($333,900).

Regional Breakdown

Existing home sales across regions:

  • In the Northeast existing-home sales annual rate of 480,000 in August, in the Northeast unchanged from July but down 22.6% from August 2022.
  • In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased by 1.0% from the previous month to an annual rate of 970,000 in August, down 16.4% from the prior year.
  • Existing-home sales in the South faded 1.1% from July to an annual rate of 1.84 million in August, a decrease of 12.4% from one year ago.
  • In the West, existing-home sales +2.7% MoM to an annual rate of 770,000 in July, down 12.5% from the prior year.

Median home prices by region year-over-year:

  • The median price in the Northeast was $465,700, up 5.8% from one year ago.
  • The median price in the Midwest was $305,300, up 6.8% from August 2022.
  • The median price in the South slumped 2.6% from the previous month to an annual rate of 750,000 in August, down 15.7% from the prior year.
  • The median price in the West was $609,300, up 1.0% from August 2022.

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.

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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