Existing Home Sales Soar a Record 24.7% in July

August 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
This Monday, April 27, 2020, photo shows a sale pending sign on a home in Mount Lebanon, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

WASHINGTON – Sales of existing homes in the United States rose by an unprecedented 24.7% in July extending the summer rebound from the coronavirus after the global pandemic hammered the market in late winter and spring.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes jumped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million.

With consecutive months of record-breaking gains, purchases are now up 8.7% from a year ago. Home sales rose 20.7% in June, a record that lasted one month.

“The housing market is well past the recovery phase and is now booming with higher home sales compared to the pre-pandemic days,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021,” he said.

The housing market has been one of the more resilient sectors of the economy during the pandemic, but market activity continues to hinge on supply, which was limited even before the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of available homes for sale was 1.5 million units, down 2.6% from June and 21.1% from one year ago. At the current sales pace, there is a 3.1-month supply of houses, down from 3.9 months in June and the 4.2 months from July 2019.

The median price for a home cracked the $300,000 mark for the first time ever, settling at $304,100, up 8.5% from July 2019.

Yun noted these dire inventory totals have a substantial effect on sales.

“The number of new listings is increasing, but they are quickly taken out of the market from heavy buyer competition,” he said. “More homes need to be built.”

Sales exploded in every region in the country, led by the Northeast and West, where sales grew by more than 30%. The Midwest was close behind as sales there rose 27.5%, while sales in the South rose 19.4%.

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