Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

May 2020 Existing Home Sales

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this May fell 9.7% from April 2020. May’s sales of existing homes dropped 26.6 % from May 2019. May’s existing-home sales reached a 3.91 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Line graph: U.S. Existing-Home Sales May 2019 to May 2020

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $284,600 in May, up 2.3% from a year ago. Home prices remain solid, this marks the 99th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar chart: Median Price of Existing-Home Sales May 2020 and May 2019

Regionally, all four regions showed strong price growth from a year ago except the West which fell modestly 0.2%. The Northeast had the largest gain of 7.8% followed by the Midwest with an incline of 3.0%. The South showed the lowest price gains of 2.1% from May 2019.

April’s inventory figures rose 6.2% from last month standing at 1.55 million homes for sale. Compared with May of 2019, inventory levels dropped 18.8%. This would mark 12 straight months of year-over-year declines. It will take 4.8 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. It takes approximately 26 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, equal to 26 days a year ago.

Bar chart: Inventory May 2019 to May 2020

From April 2020, three of the four regions showed double-digit declines in sales. The Northeast had the largest dip of 13.0% followed by the West with a decline of 11.1%. The Midwest region fell 10.0% and the South had the smallest drop in sales of 12.0%.  

From a year ago, all four regions showed double-digit declines in sales. The West had the biggest decline in sales of 35.1% followed by the Northeast with a drop of 29.9%. The South had a decline of 25.1% followed by the Midwest with the smallest drop in sales of 20.2%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 44.2% of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 12.0%.

Bar chart: Regional Existing-Home Sales and Year-Over-Year Percent Change May 2020 and May 2019

In May, single-family sales were down 9.4% and condominiums sales were down 12.8% compared to last month. Single-family home sales were down 24.8% while condominium sales were down 41.4% compared to a year ago. Single-family homes had an increase in price up 2.4% at $287,700 and condominiums fell 1.6% at $252,300 from May 2020.

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