Sales of existing homes fell 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.29 million for September, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report released today.
August's numbers were revised down to the same sales rate as July, and analysts' estimate of a 5.30 million annual rate for September proved almost spot-on. Compared to September 2012, sales were up 10.7%. The numbers include completed transactions on single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops.
For September, the housing inventory supply stayed steady at 2.21 million existing homes. At the current sales rate, this represents a 5.0-month supply of existing homes, up 3 days from last month's supply but down 12 days from inventories in September 2012.
As sales dropped month-to-month, the median sales price decreased to $199,200, which was, however, the 10th straight month of year-over-year-increases. Compared to a year ago, September's price tag is 11.7% higher. The median time on the market expanded, from 43 days in August to 50 days in September, much faster than the 70 days on market in September 2012
Looking ahead, NAR President Gary Thomas warned analysts that the government shutdown might put the squeeze on October's report: "Just one impact of the recent government shutdown -- delays in tax transcripts needed for approval of mortgage loans -- put a monkey wrench in the transaction process and could negatively impact sales closings in next month's report."