DENVER – August 2019 existing home sales slipped 1.6% from a year ago, despite buyer demand exceeding available housing supply, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. Following July’s year-over-year sales increase of 2.3%, the slight August decline marks the sixth month of 2019 that produced fewer sales than 2018.
Buyer demand outpaced homes listed for sale in August, causing the largest inventory decline in 13 months. An analysis of the report’s 53 metro areas shows August inventory shrank 5.5% year-over-year, the largest drop since 7.8% in July 2018. August’s inventory contraction followed July’s year-over-year inventory decline of 1.5% after nine consecutive months of year-over-year inventory growth. Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 2.8 compared to 2.9 in July 2019 and eclipsed the previous August low in the report’s 11-year history.
“The modest inventory growth that started last fall has been swallowed up by demand as buyers have returned to the market, likely spurred on by attractive interest rates,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Home sales dipping at the same time inventory falls suggests there may have been some reluctance on the part of sellers to list their homes. Nevertheless, demand is again ahead of supply, extending the favorable seller’s market that has been in place for several years.”
Inventory has remained below four months in 39 of the last 42 months, dating back to March 2016. Six months is considered a market balanced between sellers and buyers.
Homes moved quickly and August saw a year-over-year price increase of 5.7%, further evidence of buyer demand. The August Days on Market total of 44 represented the second-fastest pace of August home sales in the report’s history. The previous record was set last August, when homes sold in an average of 43 days.
August weighed in as the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year price growth as the Median Sales Price rose to $263,000. Going back to February 2012, prices have increased year over year in 89 of the past 91 months.
Despite the favorable conditions for sellers, there were still a few encouraging signs for buyers in the last of 2019’s peak months for home sales:
- While home prices typically decline from July to August, the decrease of 3.6% was the steepest drop-off in report history from July to August.
- Despite August’s significant year-over-year inventory shrinkage, the seasonal decline in inventory from July-to-August of 3.9% is on par with the 3.7% average since the RE/MAX National Housing Report began in August 2008.
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