The National Association of REALTORS reported that existing home sales for July came in at 5.39 million on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. July's reading exceeded both expectations of 5.21 million existing homes sold and June's reading of 5.06 million homes sold.
This suggests good news for home buyers who've been constrained by limited supplies of homes for sale.
As home prices continue increasing in many areas, more homeowners are likely to list their homes for sale. Existing home sales for July rose by 6.80 percent year-over-year.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency Home Price Index reported a 7.70 percent year-over-year increase in prices for homes financed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
This reading was slightly higher than May's year-over-year reading of a 7.60 percent increase in home prices.
New Home Sale Inventories Also Growing
New home sales for July dropped by 13.40 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual reading of 394,000; this was lower than expectations of 485,000 new homes sold, but this expectation was based on June's original reading of 497,000 new homes sold. June's reading has been adjusted to 455,000 homes sold, which likely would have resulted in a lower expectation.
New home sales were lower in all four U.S. regions:
-16.1 percent in the West
-13.4 percent in the South
-12.9 percent in the Midwest
- 5.7 percent in the Northeast
While this isn't great news for developers and home builders, supplies of new homes for sale jumped from a 4.30 month supply of new homes in June to a 5.20 month inventory of available new homes in July. This was the highest inventory of available new homes since January 2012.
Monthly New Home Sales Continue Upward Trend
Month to-month sales of new homes tend to be volatile, but July's year-over-year home sales were 6.80 percent above new home sales in July 2012.
Higher mortgage rates likely stifled sales, but slower sales would increase inventories of available homes. More homes available would help ease constraints on buyers and level the playing field for home buyers who have been competing for few homes in strong seller's markets.
Rising mortgage rates could continue, especially if the Federal Reserve begins tapering its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, a program known as quantitative easing. The Fed has announced that it may start reducing the QE program before year-end.
When QE purchases are reduced, securities prices can be expected to fall due to less demand, and mortgage rates can be expected to rise.
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