WASHINGTON – More Americans bought homes in September despite a persistent shortage of properties for sale.
The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million, highest since June. Sales rose across the country.
The supply of available was 2.04 million, down 6.8 percent from a year ago. Tight inventories drove the median price of existing homes up 5.6 percent from a year ago to $234,200. The institutional investors who bought up homes in recent years have continued to rent them out rather than putting them on the market. Moreover, homebuilders have not aggressively stepped up construction.
But buyers, many of them purchasing their first home, have been lured into the market by mortgage rates that remain near historic lows.