Long-awaited good news for the housing recovery: After several months of declines, existing home sales across the country rose 4.9 percent from April to May - a stronger-than-consensus gain, according to a monthly report from the National Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo Securities. Sales were down five percent compared with last year.
That national report, which is seasonally adjusted, doesn't include local data, but earlier this month we reported that home sales (not seasonally adjusted) in the Twin Cities increased nearly 26 percent from April to May, though May sales were11 percent lower than last year.
Trends of note:
- Single-family home sales have been gaining steam, rising 5.7 percent across the U.S.
- Distressed sales - mostly foreclosures - have been dwindling, accounting for only 11 percent of all U.S. sales last month. Distressed transactions fell to 11 percent of total purchases, the lowest share since at least 2008. (Short sales accounted for 3 percent and foreclosures for 8 percent).
- With more traditional buyers in the market and inventory still tight in most large metros, prices continue to rise. The median price of all sales last month was $213,400, a 5.1-percent increase over the previous year.
- A shortage of entry-level houses and a tough mortgage market are making it keeping many first-time homebuyers out of the market, they accounted for only 27 percent of total sales.
We'll have the latest local data on July 14 when we report the June homes sales for the Twin Cities metro.