Existing home sales declined to their lowest level since November 2015, according to the September National Association of Realtors existing home sales report.
Existing home sales dropped to 5.15 million in September, a 3.4 percent drop from August and a 4.1 percent drop from September 2017’s 5.37 million. One of the main reasons cited for the decline is rising interest rates. According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is up to 4.63 percent. NAR notes that the average for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.
“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. Affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”
Rising home prices are also adding to the decline in sales as the median existing home price was up 4.2 percent from last year to $258,100. This is also the 79th straight month of year-over-year increases.
“Despite small month over month increases, the share of first-time buyers in the market continues to underwhelm because there are simply not enough listings in their price range,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall.