Signed contracts on existing homes increased by 8.8% from July to August, the highest pace on record, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Compared to August 2019, pending home sales were 24.2% higher, says CNBC. These numbers are tracking pending home sales, not closings, but indicate the number of upcoming closed sales. NAR’s chief economist says there may not be record breaking numbers of closed sales in future months, although pending sales are historically high, because not all pending sales close.
Mortgage rates started the month falling to a new low. They jumped sharply mid-month, but only briefly. Low mortgage rates have given buyers more purchasing power and added fuel to fast-rising home prices.
Homebuyers have been pouring into the market, thanks to a coronavirus pandemic-induced stay-at-home culture. They want more space, both indoors and outside for both work and school from home.
Home price gains have been accelerating for the past three months, with some large local markets seeing double-digit annual increases. Nationally, the median price of a home sold in August (by closed sale) was 11% higher compared with August 2019, according to the NAR.