US existing home sales in August lowest in a year
21 Sep 2017 - 0:00
Washington: Sales of US existing homes fell to the lowest level in a year in August as low inventories left many would-be buyers unable to purchase, according to industry data released yesterday.
While Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in southeast Texas on August 26, was blamed for some of the monthly decline, it was the second decrease in a row and the fourth in five months, the National Association of Realtors said. Existing home sales fell 1.7 percent from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the NAR report said, far worse than the 0.3 percent drop analysts had forecast.
The sales rate for single-family houses, townhomes, condos and co-ops was just 0.2 percent above August 2016.
“Some of the South region’s decline in closings can be attributed to the devastation Hurricane Harvey caused to the greater Houston area,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Sales will be impacted the rest of the year in Houston, as well as in the most severely affected areas in Florida from Hurricane Irma,” he said. “However, nearly all of the lost activity will likely show up in 2018.”
Existing home sales in the South fell 5.7 percent from the prior month, and dropped 4.8 percent in the West, more than offsetting gains in the Midwest and Northeast. The median home price continued its steady upward move, rising 5.6 percent compared to August 2016 to $253,500, the 66th consecutive month of year-on-year price gains.