Existing Home Sales bounced back from the worst miss in 2014 in August to print 5.17mm SAAR - the highest since September 2013. Of course the surge is driven by Condos/Co-Ops (up 5.2%) rather than single-family homes (up 2.0%) and median home prices are the highest ever for a September at $209,700. It was not all ponies and unicorns though as Midwest saw sales plunge 5.6%. NAR's Larry Yun has some crucial insight for why home sales are rising..."Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets [in housing]," so we assume he is disappointe dby the 1000s of Dow points we have surged off last week's lows?
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, says the improved demand for buying seen since the spring has carried into the fall. “Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” he said.
“Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”
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In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 5.6 percent to an annual level of 1.17 million in September, and remain 4.9 percent below September 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $165,100, up 4.9 percent from a year ago.
In the Southsales increased 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 2.12 million in September, and are now 1.4 percent above September 2013. The median price in the South was $180,900, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
In the West existing home sales jumped 7.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in September, but remain 4.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $294,200, which is 4.0 percent above September 2013.
Inventories, Supply, Demand
Properties typically stayed on the market in September longer (56 days) than last month (53 days) and a year ago (50 days). Short sales were on the market for a median of 116 days in September, while foreclosures sold in 59 days and non-distressed homes typically took 55 days. Thirty-five percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
And there is no return of the 'normal' homebuyer yet...
The percent share of first-time buyers continues to underperform historically, remaining at 29 percent for the third consecutive month. First-time buyers have represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in 17 of the past 18 months.
All-cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in September, up slightly from August (23 percent) but down from 33 percent in September of last year. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in September, up from 12 percent last month but below September 2013 (19 percent). Sixty-three percent of investors paid cash in September.
And finally, some more from Yun:
“Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets, which will likely keep interest rates in upcoming weeks hovering near or below where they are now,” said Yun. “This is welcoming news for consumers looking to buy, although they could temporarily become more cautious by less certain economic conditions.”
So let's hope stocks crash?