Existing US home sales fell in August, price growth slowed

A sale sign stands outside a home on the market Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in southeast Denver. The National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for August on Wednesday, Sept. 22. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A sale sign stands outside a home on the market Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in southeast Denver. The National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for August on Wednesday, Sept. 22. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in August and prices that have been soaring eased, the latest sign the housing market is cooling as intense competition leaves many would-be buyers on the sidelines.

Existing homes sales fell 2% last month from July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million units, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. That’s slightly more than the 5.87 million economists were expecting, according to FactSet.

Sales fell 1.5% from August last year, though they remain above where they were in February 2020, before the pandemic.

Still, home sales are running 16% higher through the first eight months of this year than in the same stretch of 2020, before a surge in sales as the market bounced back from a slowdown in the initial months of the pandemic. Sales are also up about 12% from where they were in the first eight months of 2019."

“So, clearly home sales are settling down, but above pre-pandemic conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

Home prices continued to climb last month, though at a less torrid pace. The median home price rose to $356,700, an increase of 14.9% from August 2020.

At the end of August, the inventory of unsold homes stood at 1.29 million homes for sale, down 1.5% from July and down 32% from a year ago. At the current sales pace, that amounts to a 2.6-month supply, the NAR said.