Existing-home sales in the United States saw a modest uptick in May, edging higher by 0.2% from the previous month to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 4.30 million, as reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) . Despite this increment, sales were down 20.4% compared to last year’s period.
Sales trends varied across the U.S., with the South and West regions experiencing improvements, whereas the Northeast and Midwest encountered pullbacks. All four regions witnessed year-over-year sales declines .
Total housing inventory in May was recorded at 1.08 million units, a rise of 3.8% from April, but a decrease of 6.1% from one year ago. Unsold inventory equates to a 3.0-month supply at the present sales pace, a slight increase from 2.9 months in April .
This small growth in sales during May comes despite predictions that existing-home sales would see a decline in 2023, reaching their lowest level since 2012.
In terms of housing prices, the median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $396,100, marking a 3.1% decline from the previous year. Median prices increased in the Northeast and Midwest but fell in the South and West.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributed the consistent home sales to relatively steady mortgage rates. He also urged policymakers to consider a temporary capital gains tax reduction to boost housing inventory, sales, and the economy.
It is worth noting that the sales closed in May were mostly for contracts signed in March and April. With mortgage rates remaining relatively consistent, June sales are anticipated to be similar to May.
Despite the year-on-year decrease, the May sales rate was slightly above the consensus forecast.