home tops

After experiencing a flat August, existing home sales retreated in September, falling to the lowest level in nearly three years.

Total existing home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 3.4% from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million in September, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors. The report showed sales are 4.1% below September 2017’s rate.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that the decline in regional sales can be attributed to rising interest rates and the continuing climb of home prices.

“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” Yun 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 increased to $264,800, surpassing last August’s $258,100. This is a 4.2% increase from September last year and marks the 79th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing available for sale fell backwards from August, decreasing from 1.91 million existing homes on the market to 1.88 million in September. But it’s up from last year’s total of 1.86 million.

Unsold inventory rests at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, increasing from last month’s total of 4.3. The total was 4.2 months a year ago at this time.

“There is a clear shift in the market with another month of rising inventory on a year over year basis, though seasonal factors are leading to a third straight month of declining inventory,” Yun continued. “Homes will take a bit longer to sell compared to the super-heated fast pace seen earlier this year.”

Properties stayed on the market an average of 32 days in August, moving up from 29 days in August but still down from 34 days in 2017. The report states that 47% of homes stayed on the market for less than a month.

The report states, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage climbed from 4.55% the…