Home sales up 21% over 2019, experts say available supply is dwindling

Posted at 9:03 AM, Oct 27, 2020

Sales of existing homes are up nearly 21 percent over a year ago, September sales were about 9.4 percent higher than just the month before.

The National Association of Realtors says there were more than 6.5 million sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops in the month of September. The median price for these sales was $311,800. The monthly median sale price has increased for 103 months in a row, according to the NAR.

There were 5.4 million sales of existing homes in September 2019, with a median sale price of $271,500.

Home-buying continues to be a bright spot in the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in a press release. "I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home."

In fact, the NAR says sales in so-called vacation destination counties have increased 34 percent year-over-year.

However, supply is dwindling. The NAR estimatesthere is only about a 2.7-month supply of unsold existing homes given the current sales pace. That’s down from a 3-month supply in August and a 4-month supply from a year ago.

"There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low," Yun said. "To their credit, we have seen some homebuilders move to ramp up supply, but a need for even more production still exists."

For homes being listed for sale, about 70 percent were on the market for less than a month.