National Home Prices – Oct 2018
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) produces housing statistics on the national, regional, and metro-market level where data is available.
It is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries, and releases national and regional existing-home sales price and volume statistics on or about the 25th of each month. Each report includes data for 12 months and annual totals going back three years. Reports are available for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. Both median and average prices are included.
As of October 19, 2018, it was reported by the NAR that existing-home sales declined in September after a month of stagnation in August. All four major regions saw no gain in sales activity last month.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million in September. Sales are now down 4.1 percent from a year ago (5.37 million in September 2017).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across all regions of the country. “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $258,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2017 ($247,600). September’s price increase marks the 79th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of September decreased from 1.91 million in August to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.86 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 last month and 4.2 months a year ago.
Properties typically stayed on the market for 32 days in September, up from 29 days in August but down from 34 days a year ago. Forty-seven percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.63 percent in September from 4.55 percent in August. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.
“Rising interests rates coupled with increasing home prices are keeping first-time buyers out of the market, but consistent job gains could allow more Americans to enter the market with a steady and measurable rise in inventory,” says Yun.
First-time buyers were responsible for 32 percent of sales in September, up from last month (31 percent) and a year ago (29 percent). NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20174 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.
“Despite small month over month increases, the share of first-time buyers in the market continues to underwhelm because there are simply not enough listings in their price range,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty.
“Entry-level homes remain highly sought after, as prospective buyers are advised to contact a Realtor® as early in the buying process as possible in order to ensure buyers can act fast on listings that catch their eye,” she added.
All-cash sales accounted for 21 percent of transactions in September, up from August and a year ago (both 20 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in September, unchanged from August and down from 15 percent a year ago.
Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 3 percent of sales in September (the lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008), unchanged from last month and down from 4 percent a year ago. Two percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million in September, down from 4.74 million in August, and are 4.0 percent below the 4.77 million sales pace from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $260,500 in September, up 4.6 percent from September 2017.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 570,000 units in September, down 3.4 percent from last month and 5.0 percent from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $239,200 in September, which is up 1.5 percent from a year ago.
September existing-home sales in the Northeast decreased 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 680,000, 5.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $286,200, which is up 4.1 percent from September 2017.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales remained the same as last month at an annual rate of 1.28 million in September, but are still down 1.5 percent from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $200,200, up 1.9 percent from last year.
Existing-home sales in the South decreased 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.11 million in September, down from 2.12 million a year ago. The median price in the South was $223,900, up 3.0 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.08 million in September, 12.2 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $388,500, up 4.1 percent from September 2017.
Pending Home Sales Index
This leading indicator for housing activity is released during the first week of each month. The index measures housing contract activity. It is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops.
Pending home sales rose slightly in September and saw substantial increases in both the West and Midwest.
Because a home goes under contract a month or two before it is sold, the Pending Home Sales Index generally leads Existing-Home Sales by a month or two.
Housing Affordability Index
The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent monthly price and income data.
In 2015, a family had to earn a median income of $68,260 to afford a median priced existing single family home at $223,900 with an average interest rate of 4.04%. In 2016 those numbers went up to $71,062 for a $235,500 home at 3.88%. In 2017 that number went to $73,409 for a $248,800 home at 4.2%.
REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score
The REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score measures housing affordability at different income percentiles for all active inventory on the market.
For each state, the curve shows how many houses are affordable to households ranked by income while score is the measure which is intended to represent affordability for all different income percentiles in a single measure.
The curve and score measure housing affordability at different income levels for all active inventory on the market. For each state and the 100 largest metropolitan areas, the curve shows how many houses are affordable to households ranked by income while the score is the measure which is intended to represent affordability for all different income levels in a single measure.
The score is different in two major ways from the existing Housing Affordability Index (HAI):
• It considers affordability for all income percentiles, not just the median income, and
• It looks at affordability of active inventory or homes currently available for sale instead of homes that have already sold.
Virginia ranked a .91 on the score for August 2018 – the United States as a whole ranked .81 – and North Carolina ranked .79. The higher the score the higher the affordability.
Metropolitan Median Home Prices and Affordability
The NAR releases statistics on metropolitan area housing affordability and metropolitan area median home prices each quarter.
Two separate price reports reflect sales prices of (1) existing single-family homes and (2) condominium and cooperative homes by metropolitan statistical area (MSA).
A quarterly qualifying income report shows the income that is needed to qualify to purchase the median priced existing single-family home in each metro area given a variety of downpayment assumptions.
The NAR measured the amount of new home construction relative to the number of newly employed workers in 146 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) throughout the U.S. to determine whether homebuilding has kept up with the steadily improving pace of job growth in the past three years.
The findings reveal that homebuilding activity for all housing types is underperforming in roughly two-thirds of measured metro areas.
Here in Virginia, in the Richmond area, the Median Home Price was $267,000 – a change of 5.10%. In Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, the Median Home Price was $443,100 – a change of 3.40%. In Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC, the Median Home Price was $235,000 – a change of -2.00%.