Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for August showing a notable decline sales activity sin July while continuing to indicate an increase on a year-over-year basis.
Existing single family home sales were up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis while the median selling price declined 12.5% over the same period.
More notably though, Condo sales jumped 10.1% on a year-over-year basis while median selling prices declining 15.7% over the same period.
It’s important to note that the “Cash for Clunkers” of housing, the “first time home buyers” tax credit, is likely driving the current jump in sales.
While the government assistance program is temporary, today’s results continue to indicate that home sales have been buffeted throughout its term which, short of being extended, expires in November.
Of course, the NAR leadership continues to wave the banner of the government’s first-time homebuyer tax handout … even if these housing welfare payments are poorly targeted and absurdly expensive … Realtors want commission at all costs… even if their commissions comes from your salary... as chief economist Lawrence Yun puts it:
“Home sales retrenched from a very strong improvement in July but continue to be much higher than before the stimulus. The first-time buyer tax credit is having the intended impact of bringing buyers into the market, allowing them to take advantage of very favorable affordability conditions … Some of the give-back in closed sales appears to result from rising numbers of contracts entering the system, with some fallouts and a backlog contributing to a longer closing process, but the decline demonstrates we can’t take a housing rebound for granted.”
The following (click for larger versions) are charts showing sales for single family homes, plotted monthly, for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 as well as national existing home inventory and month supply.
Below is a chart consolidating all the year-over-year changes reported by NAR in their most recent report.