The median existing home price was $311,800, up almost 15% year over year, and more than 70% of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
Existing home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month in September 2020, up 9.4% from August and 21% year over year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Overall sales also rose year over year, up 20.9% from 5.41 million in 2019.
This figure covers both single-family homes and condominium/co-op sales; alone, single-family home sales rose 9.7% from August to September 2020, and 21.8% from one year ago, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.87 million.
“Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home.”
The median existing home price rose to $311,800, up almost 15% from September 2019, marking 103 straight months of year-over year gains. Total housing inventory fell both month over month and year over year to 1.47 million, enough to last 2.7 months at the current pace—a record inventory low, down from 3.0 months in August and 4.0 in September 2019.
“There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low,” Yun says. “To their credit, we have seen some home builders move to ramp up supply, but a need for even more production still exists.”
Yun notes that sales in vacation destinations are continuing to accelerate, with 34% growth year over year in September. “The uncertainty about when the pandemic will end coupled with the ability to work from home appears to have boosted sales in summer resort regions, including Lake Tahoe, mid-Atlantic beaches (Rehoboth Beach, Myrtle Beach), and the Jersey shore areas,” Yun said.
Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in September 2020, another all-time low, down from 22 days in August and 32 days in September 2019. More than 70% of the homes sold in September 2020 were on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in September, down from 33% in August and 33% in September 2019. Individual investors or second-home buyers accounted for 12% of sales, and all-cash sales accounted for 18% of sales.
Each of the four major U.S. regions saw existing home sales growth month over month and year over year. The Northeast showed the strongest growth, with a 16.2% rise in existing home sales month to month, and a median price of $354,600, up 17.8% year over year.