Hopeful Buyers Welcome Inventory Increase

Cutout paper homes next to notes "For Sale" and "Bidding War"

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More homes are coming onto the market and as they do, home buyers are eager to snatch them up.

Existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—increased 2% in July compared to June, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Monday. Sales are up 1.5% compared to a year ago.

As more homes enter the marketplace, opportunities for prospective buyers continue to increase in regions across the country, said NAR President Charlie Oppler. Housing inventories increased 7.3% in July compared to June, reaching 1.32 million homes for sale.

“We see inventory beginning to tick up, which will lessen the intensity of multiple offers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Much of the home sales growth is still occurring in the upper-end markets, while the mid- to lower-tier areas aren’t seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter homes available.”

But home prices continue to surge. The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $359,900, an increase of nearly 18% compared to a year ago.

“Although we shouldn’t expect to see home prices drop in the coming months, there is a chance that they will level off as inventory continues to gradually improve,” Yun said. “In the meantime, some prospective buyers who are priced out are raising the demand for rental homes and thereby pushing up the rental rates.”

Here’s a closer look at additional housing indicators from NAR's July housing report:

Days on the market: Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in July, down from 22 days a year ago. Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers: First-time buyers comprised 30% of sales in July, down from 34% in July 2020.

All-cash buyers: All-cash sales accounted for 23% of transactions in July, up from 16% in July 2020. Individual investors or second-home buyers comprise the majority of cash sales. They purchased 15% of homes in July, unchanged from the 15% seen in July 2020.

Regional Breakdown

Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in July:

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales remained steady in July compared to June, but posted a 12.1% increase from July 2020. Median home price: $411,200, up 23.6% from a year ago.
  • Midwest: Sales increased 3.8% in July month over month, a 1.4% decline from a year ago. Median home price: $275,300, a 13.1% increase from a year ago.
  • South: Sales increased 1.2% in July compared to June, reaching a record high annual rate of 2.63 million. That marks a 1.2% increase from a year ago. Median home price: $305,200, a 14.4% from a year ago.
  • West: Sales increased 3.3% in July compared to June and equal to a year earlier. Median home price: $508,300, up 12.5% from July 2020.