U.S. Home Sales Fall for Eight Consecutive Month in September

October 17, 2022

Sales of pre-existing homes fell for an eighth consecutive month in September, the longest streak of monthly declines in 15  years, as surging mortgage rates continue to weigh on the housing market.

September’s sales were down 1.5% from the month before, bringing the month’s sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.17 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the lowest since May 2020, when the housing market was at a standstill due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Aside from the pandemic era, September’s rate of sales was the lowest since 2012, when the housing market was still recovering from the 2008 crash.

The recent slowdown is largely due to higher mortgage rates. Rates reached nearly 7% last week, nearly twice what they were at the start of the year.

Higher rates not only make home purchases less affordable for prospective buyers, but it makes sellers, who are locked into lower mortgage rates, more reticent to put their homes on the market, limiting the inventory of homes on the market and driving up prices.

Despite the slower sales pace, the median existing-home price rose 8.4% in September from a year earlier to $384,800. While prices continue to climb, the pace of growth is slowing substantially. September was the third straight month where prices grew by a single-digit percentage, following 23 consecutive months of double-digit-percentage annual price growth, according to the NAR. Some industry analysts expect to see year-over-year price declines in 2023.

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