Existing-home sales declined month-on-month 1.9% in September, because of increasing prices, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The "seasonally adjusted annual rate" of sales was down 5.29 million in September, from 5.39 million in August.
“Affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases easily outpaced income growth,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Expected rising mortgage interest rates will further lower affordability in upcoming months." The national average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate rose to 4.49% in September.
The national median existing-home price was $199,200 in September, up 11.7% from September 2012 - the 10th consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year increases, according to the NAR.
- In the Northeast, sales of existing homes declined 2.8% month-on-month during September, but are still 15.0% above September 2012. The median Northeast price is $240,900, up 2.3% from a year ago.
- In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 5.3% month-on-month during September, but are 12.6% up on a year ago. The median Midwest price was $158,400, up 9.0% from a year ago.
- In the South, existing-home sales declined 1.4% month-on-month during September, but are 9.9% up on a year ago. The median Southern price was $171,600, up 13.9% from a year ago.
- In the West, existing-home sales rose 1.6% during September, and are 7.8% up on a year ago. The median price in the West rose to $286,300, up 16.8% on September 2012.
There were 2.21 million existing homes on sale at end-September, representing 5 months' supply, compared with 4.9-months' supply in August. The median time on market for all homes was 50 days in September, up from 43 days in August, according to NAR.
The rate of price increases has been decelerating, according to Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive officer of CoreLogic Pending HPI research. On a month-on-month basis, home prices increased by only 0.2% in September 2013. Home prices, including distressed sales, increased 12% in September 2013 on a year-on-year basis.
“We are seeing a slowdown in the rate of price appreciation over the past few months from the rapid pace experienced over the first half of this year," said Nallathambi. "This deceleration is natural and should help keep market fundamentals in balance over the longer term.”