Home resales retreated in September from a two-year high, a reminder that America’s housing sector is a long way from a full recovery despite recent signs of improvement.
The National Association of Realtors said on Friday that existing home sales dropped a modest 1.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million units, matching the median forecast in a Reuters poll.
Housing has been a relative bright spot in the U.S. economy this year, and Friday’s data did not point to a reversal in that trend. The reading for August was revised slightly higher to show resales at a 4.83 million-unit annual rate.
“While these numbers bounce around, there is no doubt that this is showing the housing market is improving,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
Nationwide, the median price for a home resale was $183,900 in September, up 11.3 percent from a year earlier as fewer people sold their homes under distressed conditions compared to a year earlier. Distressed sales include foreclosures.
U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday following disappointing results from Microsoft and McDonald’s, while prices on U.S. treasuries edged higher.
America’s economy has shown signs of faster growth in recent months as the jobless rate has fallen and retail sales data has pointed to stronger consumer spending.
The nation’s inventory of homes – those for sale on the market – fell 3.3 percent during the month to 2.32 million.
At the current pace of sales, inventories would be exhausted in 5.9 months, the lowest rate since March 2006, the NAR said.