Existing-home sales rose in July, marking two consecutive months of increases, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Three of the four major U.S. regions recorded modest month-over-month gains, and the fourth remained level, according to NAR.
Total existing-home sales completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 2.% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million in July, according to NAR.
Sales inched up year-over-year, increasing 1.5% from a year ago (5.9 million in July 2020), per NAR.
"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."
Total housing inventory at the end of July totaled 1.32 million units, which is up 7.3% from June's supply and down 12% from one year ago (1.50 million), according to NAR.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $359,900, up 17.8% from July 2020 ($305,600), as each region saw prices climb, according to NAR, which added that this marks 113 straight months of year-over-year gains.
"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."
Properties typically remained on the market for 17 days in July, unchanged from June and down from 22 days in July 2020, according to NAR.
Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July 2021 were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.
First-time buyers accounted for 30% of sales in July, down from 31% in June and down from 34% in July 2020, according to NAR>
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in July, up 2.7% from 5.14 million in June and down 0.8% from one year ago, according to NAR.
The median existing single-family home price was $367,000 in July, up 18.6% from July 2020, according to NAR.
The median existing condo price was $307,100 in July, an annual increase of 14.1%, according to NAR.
"As more homes come on the market, opportunities for prospective buyers continue to increase in regions across the country," said NAR President Charlie Oppler, a realtor from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty. "But even though we are beginning to see some normalcy return, NAR continues to work alongside legislators and policymakers to ensure we are doing everything we can to boost the supply of safe, affordable housing in America."
Existing-home sales in the Northeast—where the median price is up 23.6% from a year ago to $411,200—were up 12.1% from July 2020.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest—the median price is $275,300, which is 13.1% higher than July 2020—rose 3.8% to an annual rate of 1,380,000 in July, a 1.4% decline from a year ago, according to NAR.
Existing-home sales in the South—where the median price of $305,200 saw a 14.4% jump in a year—rose 1.2% in July and 1.2% from this period last year.
Existing-home sales in the West grew 3.3%—equal to the level of a year ago. The median price in the West was $508,300, up 12.5% from July 2020, according to NAR.