US Home Sales Were Flat In August

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of existing homes were unchanged in August, as a shortage of houses priced at less than $250,000 — a level considered to be affordable for the middle class — has become a drag on the real estate market.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.34 million. Existing home sales have fallen 1.5 percent during the past 12 months.

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Price gains are moderating, and the total number of sales listings is increasing, a marked change from roughly three years' worth of annual declines in inventory. But the sales momentum is increasingly concentrated on homes worth more than $500,000, while sales of homes worth less than $250,000 have tumbled over the past year.

There were 1.92 million existing homes for sale at the end of August, up from 1.87 million a year ago.

The median sales price in July increased 4.6 percent from a year ago to $264,800. Home prices are no longer climbing as quickly as they did in 2017 and 2016, although the gains are still greater than average wage growth.

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Sales rose last month in the Northeast and Midwest, but they fell in the South and West.

Nationally, there has been a 1.7 percent decline in the sale of homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 in the past year. But the sale of homes worth more than $1 million has jumped by 11.8 percent, a sign that the greater concentration of wealth among the top sliver of households is reshaping how the U.S. housing market operates.

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