Earlier this week, you may have heard some headlines about Existing Home Sales being “at their highest annual pace of the year,” and on the “rebound” in September after a “modest decline” in August. Well, yes, but….
Existing-Home Sales data collected by the National Association of Realtors® measures sales and prices of existing single-family homes for the nation overall, and gives breakdowns for the West, Midwest, South, and Northeast regions of the country. These figures include condos and co-ops, in addition to single-family homes.
While unit sales in September were higher by 2.4% compared with August, the September 2014 count was LOWER by 1.7% compared with September 2013. At best, I’d call this a flat market, not a rising one.
The West Region, including Arizona, shows an exaggeration of the national numbers: “Existing-home sales in the West jumped 7.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in September, but remain 4.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $294,200, which is 4.0 percent above September 2013.”
Of particular interest is this observation about the data: “The percent share of first-time buyers continues to under perform historically, remaining at 29 percent for the third consecutive month. First-time buyers have represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in 17 of the past 18 months.”
In sum, keep your hats on and your powder dry — we’re not through this interesting spell in the real estate market yet.