US home resales raced to a one-year high in September. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday existing home sales increased 2.4 per cent to an annual rate of 5.17 million units, the strongest reading since September of last year.
US Existing Home Sales
While home sales picked up last month, first-time buyers, a critical component for a sustainable recovery, remained on the sidelines. They accounted for 29 per cent of sales for a third straight month, below the 40 per cent to 45 per cent that is considered ideal by economists and real estate agents.
Investors, who had supported the market, have been withdrawing. They accounted for only 14 per cent of transactions last month, down from 19 per cent in September of last year.
The inventory of unsold homes on the market increased 6 per cent from a year ago to 2.30 million.
With supply improving, house price gains continue to moderate. The median home price rose 5.6 per cent in September from a year ago, but that was down from the double-digit growth seen for much of 2013.
Declining borrowing costs will help bring homes within reach of more Americans. The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.97 per cent in the week ended October 16, the lowest since June 2013, according to Freddie Mac data. The rate has dropped by 0.22 percentage point over the past two weeks.