President, United States, Regional Operations ⋅ Compass
The most recent existing home sales report from the National Association of Realtors showed that while sales fell for the 8th straight month in September, they remained in the same rough range as the prior two months. This could be a sign the market is stabilizing and finding a new balance amidst some challenging dynamics. My full thoughts on NAR’s data are below. Also happy to share some links to national media stories featuring my comments that you can share with your networks:
“Despite continued small monthly declines in September, existing home sales seem to have found a somewhat sustainable level, coming in at an annualized rate of 4.71 million last month – not far off the roughly 4.8 million recorded the past two months. This level is below historic and pre-pandemic averages (roughly 5.2 million-5.3 million in a given month over the past decade), but still closer to those averages than the unsustainable, record levels experienced last year.
Whether or not this relative stability of the past few months can continue depends, as always, on potential buyers’ and sellers’ ability and willingness to cope with fast-moving and often challenging market dynamics. Buyers, especially those on tighter budgets, have seen their purchasing power rapidly erode as interest rates rose alongside prices, and may not step back in until affordability improves – either through declining rates and prices, and/or rising wages. Homeowners locked in at a low, fixed mortgage rate may be understandably reluctant to exchange that rate for an even higher one, paying more per month for a home comparable to their current residence, let alone an upgrade. This ongoing seller reluctance, however, will keep inventory low and prevent prices from falling meaningfully any time soon, especially given continued slowdowns in new construction starts – which may keep more buyers sidelined.
Even so, there are millions of homeowners and would-be buyers out there that need and want to buy or sell for any number of reasons, and the market may be able to sustain this level of sales for some time before beginning to climb again if and when conditions improve.”