August U.S. Home Sales Down, Inventory too

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on September 25, 2009

Locally Sales were Up

Across the U.S.:

At the end of August there stood an 8.5 month supply of existing homes for sale across the U.S., down from the 9.3 month supply in July. This improvement occurred despite homes sales easing during the month.

Sales of existing U.S. homes dropped in August 2.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million units. The pace of sales in July was 5.24 million. Analysts had expected August to return closer to 5.4 million units.

The drop in inventory is a good sign that the market is still moving back toward more sustainable levels. A balanced market will be reached when inventories return to a six month supply.

The inventory of unsold homes is 16.4% lower than year ago levels, due mainly to four consecutive months of sales gains from April through July. During that time, sales had jumped 15.2 percent.

Besides the increase in sales, builders have taken a more measured approach to bringing new homes on the market. New construction inventories, 262,000 units at the end of August, are at their lowest levels since 1992. This is also a factor in moving toward better balance in the marketplace.

Thurston County:
Locally, home inventory reached a 6.7 month supply at the end of August. While this still represents a Buyer’s market, it is improved from July where a 7.4 month supply existed. The August number represents the lowest level since September 2008. The big improvement was due to the jump in August home sales, which were up 12.2% from a year ago.

While the overall market is trending in the right direction, some segments within the market are still struggling. For example, the $800,000 and above price range had a 52.6 month supply of homes. This means that if no additional homes came on the market it would take nearly four and a half years to sell all the homes at the current pace of sales.

Sales in that upper price range are off 81% from a year ago. There have been only 4 MLS sales in this price range year to date. During the same period last year there were 21 sales.

Most of the positive movement in the market remains at the lower price ranges. The under $200,000 price range has only a 5.5 month supply of homes, making it a balanced market. Not surprisingly, sales in this price range year to date are up 38% compared to the same period in 2008.

In other price ranges, sales are off 19% in the $200,000-$299,999 range, off 16% in the $300,000-$399,999 range, off 33% in the $400,000-$499,999 range, and off 47% in the $500,000-$599,999 range.

Statistics compiled by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. from the NWMLS database. Statistics not compiled or published by NWMLS.

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