May existing home sales decline 20.4% from last year

Sales rose slightly from April with larger increases recorded in the South and West

WASHINGTON — May existing home sales fell 20.4% from May 2022 as interest rates continued to create a drag on the market across all regions of the U.S.

Sales rose a meager .2% from April, with some areas of the country faring better in the South and West versus the East and Midwest.

The report from the National Association of Realtors released this past week said that home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.3 million in May, compared to 5.40 million in May 2022. The figures include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

All four regions of the country experienced year-over-year declines while sales rose in the single digits in the South and West compared to April.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that mortgage rates heavily influenced the direction of sales activity, leading “to several consecutive months of consistent home sales.”

The report also noted that total housing inventory at the end of May was 1.08 million units, which was down 6.1% from the 1.15 million units recorded a year ago and up 3.8% from April. There was a three-month supply of homes based on unsold inventory at the end of May based at the current sales pace, up from 2.6 months in May 2022 and 2.9 months from April.

“Available inventory strongly impacts home sales, too,” Yun noted. “Newly constructed homes are selling at a pace reminiscent of pre-pandemic times because of abundant inventory in that sector. However, existing home sales activity is down sizably due to the current supply being roughly half the level of 2019.”

Other highlights of the report were as follows:

+ The median existing home sale prices for all housing types was $396,100, down 3.1% from $408,600 in May 2022. The report added that prices rose in the Northeast and Midwest, but fell in the South and West.

+ Properties remained on the market for 18 days in May. This was down from 22 days in April, but up from 16 days in May 2022. About 74% of the homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.

+ Twenty-five percent of the sales were all-cash sales, which was the same as a year ago but down from 28% in April. Individual investors or second-home buyers make up many of these cash sales. They purchased 15% of the homes in May, which was down from 17% in April and 16% in May 2022.

+ Distressed sales represented about 2% of sales in May, the same as April and May 2022.

+ A fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.69% as of June 15, down from 6.71% the prior week but up from 5.78% a year ago, according to Freddie Mac.

+ Single-family home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 3.85 million in May, which was down .3% from 3.86 million in April and 20% from last year. The median existing single-family home price was $401,100 in May, down 3.4% from May 2022.

+ There were 450,000 existing condominium and co-op sales in May, up 4.7% from April but down 23.7% from May 2022. The median existing condominium price was $353,000, nearly the same as May 2022.

By region the report cited the following activity:

+ In the Northeast, existing home sales declined 2% from April to 500,000 in May and were down 25.4% from May 2022. The median price was up 2.5% from a year ago to $439,000.

+ In the Midwest, home sales dropped 2.9% from April to 990,000 in May and fell 20.8% from May 2022. The median price was $298,000, up 1.1% from May 2022.

+ In the South, home sales rose 1.5% from April to 2.02 million in May, but were down 16.5% from May 2022. The median price was down 2.7% from May 2022 to $361,400.

+ In the West, home sales rose 2.6% from April to 790,000 in May, but were down 25.5% from May 2022. The median price was down 5.7% from May 2022 to $596,500.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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