US Home Resales Barely Rise as Inventory Constraints Worsen

Sales of previously owned US homes barely rose in May as high mortgage rates continued to crimp demand and discourage owners from listing their properties.

Contract closings edged up 0.2% to a 4.3 million annualized pace, according to data released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. Compared with a year earlier, sales were down more than 18% on an unadjusted basis.

The median selling price declined 3.1% from a year earlier, the most since 2011, to $396,100. That’s still historically elevated for the month and reflective of limited supply.

Metric Actual Est.
Existing-home sales 4.3 mln 4.25 mln
Change in sales (MoM) +0.2% -0.7%

The number of homes for sale fell 6.1% from a year earlier to 1.08 million units. That’s the lowest inventory level for any May in data back to 1999.

The constrained inventory levels, pared with high mortgage rates, continue to impede the resale housing market. That’s discouraging homeowners from moving and taking on higher borrowing costs, therefore pushing buyers toward new properties instead.