US home sales fell again in July as housing slowdown deepens

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. previously occupied home sales slowed for the sixth straight month in July, deepening the housing market’s slump under the weight of sharply higher mortgage rates, surging inflation and housing prices. the houses slower, but still solid.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that existing home sales fell 5.9% last month from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million. That’s lower than economists expected, according to FactSet.

Sales fell 20.2% from July last year. Sales have now fallen at the slowest pace since May 2020, near the start of the pandemic.

The last time there was a six-month losing streak in home sales was between August 2013 and January 2014.

The slowdown in sales was most pronounced in the western part of the country, home to some of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. Sales in the region fell 30% last month from a year earlier, NAR said.

Even though the housing market is losing steam, home prices have continued to rise sharply. The national median home price rose 10.8% in July from a year earlier to $403,800. That’s a slower growth rate than earlier this year, when prices were rising about 20% annually.

The July sales report is belated evidence that the housing market, a key engine of economic growth, is slowing from its torrid pace in recent years as homebuyers face much higher mortgage rates. higher than a year ago.

Average weekly interest rates for a benchmark 30-year home loan have fallen since rising to 5.81% in June. The rate fell this week to 5.13%, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. That’s well above where it was a year ago when it averaged 2.86.

Home seekers had a wider selection of properties to choose from in July, as the number of properties for sale rose 4.8% from June to 1.31 million homes. That hasn’t changed since July of last year.

Still, on average, homes sold in just 14 days from when they hit the market last month, matching a record pace since June. Before the pandemic, homes typically sold more than 30 days after they were listed.

At the current rate of sales, the level of properties for sale stands at 3.3 months’ supply, the NAR said. That’s more than the 2.9 months in June and the 2.6 months in July 2021. It’s still short of 5-6 month supply reflecting a more balanced market between buyers and sellers.

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