After declining for four straight months from February through May, existing home sales are on the comeback trail, having now risen for two months in a row.
According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales increased by 2% in July over June. That marks the second straight month of increases in existing home sales following four months in a row where sales declined.
The main reason for the sales increase was an improvement in housing inventory, meaning more homes are hitting the market.
According to the report, the nationwide total of housing inventory was 1.32 million units at the end of July, up 7.3% from June.
“We see inventory beginning to tick up, which will lessen the intensity of multiple offers," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Much of the home sales growth is still occurring in the upper-end markets, while the mid- to lower-tier areas aren't seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter homes available."
Despite more homes hitting the market, house prices are still near record highs. Per the report, the median sales price for an existing home sale in July was $359,900, which is actually down slightly from June’s all-time record high of $363,300. June’s house prices broke the previous record high of $350,300 set in May.
“Although we shouldn't expect to see home prices drop in the coming months, there is a chance that they will level off as inventory continues to gradually improve," Yun said.
The increase was seen in three of the four main regions of the U.S. as well.
According to the report, existing home sales held steady in the Northeast, while sales rose in the Midwest (up 3.8%), South (up 1.2%), and West (up 3.3%).
The homes that hit the market also continued to sell quickly. According to the report, the typical property stayed on the market for 17 days in July, the same as June. Beyond that, 89% of the homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.