US existing home sales unexpectedly rise in May

Home sales up in May but buyers face sharply rising prices

US existing home sales unexpectedly rise in May

Americans shopping for a house are facing an intensifying set of pressures: Fewer and fewer homes are being listed for sale, while prices are climbing at a pace that most incomes can't possibly match.

The median existing-home price for all housing types hit $252,800 in May, which is higher than it was at the last peak last June and is 5.8 percent higher than May 2016's median price of $238,900. Single-family home sales jumped 9.9 percent year-over-year to 1,334 from 1,223; while condo sales were up 5.7 percent, to 1,384 from 1,309.

The county has a 4.3-month supply of single-family homes, meaning that's about how long it would take to sell all of the properties if no others came up for sale.

The Realtors called the pace of price appreciation "unsustainable" and noted that "some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search" because of low supply.

Moreover, homes are staying on the market for a median of just 27 days, the briefest period since the National Association Realtors began tracking the measure in 2011.

Commenting on the data, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "The inventory data signal even faster price increases ahead, pushing implied real mortgage rates further below zero and, hence, attracting new potential buyers into the market". "With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month", said Yun. This was the third-strongest rate of the past 12 months and gave a 2.7% annual increase. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 33% of sales in May, which is down from 34% in April but up from 30% a year ago. All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in May, up from 21 percent in April and unchanged from a year ago.

Sales in the Midwest fell 5.9% with a 0.8% annual decline while there were monthly increases across the Northeast, South and West with these three regions also registering annual gains. The total number of single family home sales in CT increased by 10%. All told, 55 percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than one month.

Mortgage rates rose after last year's presidential election but edged down in recent months.

The median price of a re-sale condo rose 3.1 percent to $255,700 in Sarasota and 11.7 percent to $186,250 in Manatee. Condo prices were also up by 4.8 percent, to $225,000 from almost $215,000.

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