September existing-home sales declined modestly, according to the National Association of Realtors. Inventory continued to tighten and the national median home price recorded its seventh back-to-back monthly increase from a year earlier.
Total existing-home sales fell 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in September from an upwardly revised 4.83 million in August, but are 11.0% above the 4.28 million-unit pace in September 2011.
Total existing-home sales are defined as completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.
"Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we're experiencing a genuine recovery," said Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist. "More people are attempting to buy homes than are able to qualify for mortgages, and recent price increases are not deterring buyer interest. Rather, inventory shortages are limiting sales, notably in parts of the West."
According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.47% in September from 3.60% in August; the rate was 4.11% in September 2011.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $183,900 in September, up 11.3% from a year ago.
Single-family home sales declined 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.21 million in September from 4.29 million in August, but are 10.8% higher than the 3.80 million-unit level in September 2011. The median existing single-family home price was $184,300 in September, up 11.4% from a year ago.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 540,000 in September, but are 12.5 percent above the 480,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000 in September, which is 10.0 percent higher than September 2011.
Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 6.3% to an annual level of 590,000 in September but are 7.3% above September 2011. Existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 0.9% in September to a pace of 1.10 million but are 19.6% higher than a year ago. In the South, existing-home sales increased 0.5% to an annual level of 1.93 million in September and are 14.2% above September 2011. Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.4% to an annual pace of 1.13 million in September but are 0.9% above a year ago.