Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the fifth consecutive month in June as higher mortgage rates and rising prices kept many home hunters on the sidelines.
Existing home sales fell 5.4% last month from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.
That’s lower than what economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales fell 14.2% from June last year.
After climbing to a 6.49 million annual rate in January, sales have fallen to the slowest pace since June 2020, near the start of the pandemic, when they were running at an annualized rate of 4.77 million homes. Excluding the pandemic, sales in June were running at the slowest pace since January 2019.
Even as home sales slowed, home prices kept climbing in June. The national median home price jumped 13.4% in June from a year earlier to $416,000. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999, NAR said. Still, while rising, the rate of increase in median home prices has been slowing steadily.
The June’s sales report is the late evidence that the housing market, a key driver of economic growth, is slowing as homebuyers grapple with sharply higher mortgage rates than a year ago.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan climbed to 5.51% last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. A year ago it averaged 2.88%.
Mortgage rates have been climbing in response to a sharp increase in 10-year Treasury yields, reflecting expectations of higher interest rates overall as the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark rate in a bid to quell the highest inflation in decades.