Boosted by a greater share of sales to first-time buyers not seen in nearly four years, existing-home sales maintained their upward trajectory in June and increased for the fourth consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing-home sales climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in June from a downwardly revised 5.51 million in May. After last month's gain, sales are now up 3.0 percent from June 2015 (5.41 million) and remain at their highest annual pace since February 2007 (5.79 million).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the impressive four-month streak of sales gains through June caps off a solid first half of 2016 for the housing market. "Existing sales rose again last month as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances," he said. "Sustained job growth as well as this year's descent in mortgage rates is undoubtedly driving the appetite for home purchases."
June existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but are still 5.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $284,800, which is 1.4 percent above June 2015.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.35 million in June, and are now 4.7 percent above June 2015. The median price in the Midwest was $199,900, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South in June remained unchanged from May at an annual rate of 2.26 million, and are 3.2 percent above June 2015. The median price in the South was $217,400, up 5.5 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West rose 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in June, but are still 0.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $350,800, which is 7.2 percent above June 2015.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 3.60 percent in May to 3.57 percent in June. Mortgage rates have now fallen four straight months and in June were the lowest since May 2013 (3.54 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.