Existing home sales in U.S. down again for 6th straight month

Oct. 19 (UPI) — Existing home sales in the United States continued to decline in September for the sixth consecutive month, new figures showed Friday.

Sales of existing homes, which are tracked differently than new homes, fell 3.4 percent from August to 5.1 million in September, the National Association of Realtors said in a report.

The monthly figure is down 4.1 percent from a year ago.

The NAR report said existing home prices, though, had risen 4.2 percent over the 12-month period to a median price of $258,100.

“There is without a doubt a clear shift in the market as evidenced by lower sales and higher inventory,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

Yun added that the benefits of tax cuts and wage improvements caused by a tight job market have been canceled out by the rising mortgage rates.

The decline was felt in all four sectors of the United States, as defined by NAR data. The slide also hit all home price categories, with homes under $100,000 falling more than 18 percent and those over $1 million fell 1.6 percent.

Existing homes account for about 90 percent of all homes sold, the NAR report said. Construction of new homes also declined in September, caused in some part by hurricanes striking the Southeast.

The current downward trend is the longest since 2014 and, experts say, the result of higher mortgage costs and rising home prices. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-term mortgage has risen nearly 1 percent in the past year.

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