Now is a good time to buy a home or list your home for sale. The national housing market trends show an increase in home sales and a decrease in home inventory. National existing-home sales increased in September to the second-highest pace since February 2007. Interest rates are holding steady near 4 percent, and job growth—while modest in comparison with the first half of the year—is still strong. Rent prices have climbed to an eight-year high, making it less affordable to rent and more affordable to own a home.
National Home Sales Increase
Total existing-home sales reached 5.5 million in September, a 4.7 percent increase from August and an 8.8 percent rise above a year ago. What’s more, for the past 12 months, year over year existing-home sales have increased, according to NAR. Gains were recorded in every region of the country. In the Midwest, existing-home sales climbed 2.3 percent in September; sales are 12 percent higher than September 2014. Sales in the South rose 3.8 percent month over month and 5.7 percent year over year. The largest sales gains in September were seen in the Northeast, with an increase of 8.6 percent, and the West, with an increase of 6.7 percent. Year over year, sales rose in the Northeast and West 11.8 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.
National Inventory Dips
By the end of September, there was a total of 2.21 million existing homes on the market, a decrease of 2.6 percent. This is 3.1 percent lower than a year ago. At the current sales pace, this level of inventory represents a 4.8-month supply—a drop from August’s 5.1-month supply. Persistent inventory shortages have plagued the housing market all year, yet the market has still posted gains. This is thanks in large part to sellers taking advantage of rising home prices to release equity in their current home and either sell up or downsize. First-time buyers, however, are still struggling to find a way into the housing market. First-time buyers represented only 29 percent of the market in September; this is down from August’s yearly high of 32 percent and unchanged from September 2014’s.