Peak season for real estate continues moving to later in the year as sales of existing homes rose a higher-than-expected 9.4% to 6.54 million units in September.
But sales could have been more robust if there were more listings. The inventory of houses for sale fell 19.2% to 1.47 million homes, representing a 2.7-month supply, the lowest level for housing stock since the National Association of Realtors began tracking this metric in 1982. Meanwhile rising demand and low inventory pushed the median house price up 14.8% to a record $311,800.
“Americans are splurging on spending for housing,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, noting that they are also spending more on home improvements at retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s. “Home prices are simply rising too fast.”
Yun said this could limit the opportunities for first-time buyers in the future. The first-time buyer share of the market fell to 31% in September from 33% in August.