Home sales fell in June; would-be buyers can’t find homes

By Josh Boak / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Homebuyers faced surging prices and a shrinking number of properties for sale in June — causing the pace of sales to fall.

Sales of existing homes slipped 1.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.

The decline speaks to a troubling cycle for a U.S. housing market hampered by a worsening shortage of properties to buy. Despite solid demand in a relatively healthy economy for houses, sales listings have been steadily declining for more than two years. The resulting shortage has caused prices to consistently rise faster than wage gains, making it harder for more Americans to build up their net worth by becoming homeowners.

Sales levels have improved a mere 0.7 percent over the past 12 months. The modest gains come despite solid levels of hiring that have pushed the unemployment rate to a healthy 4.4 percent, a level that in the past would have helped to fuel further sales growth.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at the real estate firm Zillow, said that the lack of sales listings may be bordering on a “crisis.”

“There are about as many homes for sale now as there were in 1994, except there are about 63 million more people in this country now than there were then,” Guddell said.

Many would-be homebuyers are unable to find properties to purchase.

The number of sales listings has been falling on an annual basis for the past 25 months. There were 1.96 million homes for sale in June, a 7.1 decline from a year ago.

That shortage has caused prices to climb at more than double the pace of average hourly earnings.

The median sales price has climbed 6.5 percent over the past year to $263,800. Adjusted for inflation, the median is about 9 percent below its 2006 peak during the housing bubble when sub-prime mortgages pushed prices to unsustainable highs.

David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance, said that under normal circumstances home sales could be expected to rise 8 percent to 10 percent, but the inventory shortage is reducing how many sales can be completed.

Homes sold in June at a median of just 28 days, down from 34 days last year.

Sales declined last month in the Northeast, South and West but increased in the Midwest.

Mortgage rates remain relatively low by historic standards, but they’re still higher than a year ago.

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.03 percent last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said. Last year, homebuyers could borrow at an average of just 3.42 percent, a rate low enough to ease many affordability pressures.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

James Berntson shows how his farm uses a trellis system to control tomato plants on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at Radicle Roots Farm in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Backyard business: Snohomish farm thrives on less than one acre.

James Berntson grew Radicle Roots Farm using smart crop planning and organic practices.

A group gathers near a blending pit, which is where cow waste and other biodegradable material begins its journey towards becoming energy in a digester Friday, June 17, 2022, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Cow pie power! Monroe manure-to-energy project expands

Qualco has been turning cow poop into electricity since 2008. A new generator could turn on by mid-August.

Fauxy Furr in Arlington, Washington upcycles boots with custom trimmings. Their boots proved popular with customers from overseas. Photographed on February 8, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Accidental exporters’ can tap into federal and state funds

The SBA offers funds and expertise to small companies that hope to boost their export business.

Trays of plants grow inside one of Infarm's vertical farms. Photo credit: Infarm
Growing up: Indoor warehouse farms make inroads in Snohomish County

Vertical farms that use LED lights to grow fresh herbs and salad greens indoors are sprouting up.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Holly Burkett-Pohland, the owner of Burkett’s Home & Gift, outside of her new store front on Friday, June 17, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Everett gift store debuts in former J. Matheson space

For years, Holly Burkett-Pohland wanted to expand a business founded by her mother in 1978.

Striking Starbucks employees talk to a woman who wanted to use the drive-thru but was turned away due to the strike on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, on Broadway in Everett, Washington. Workers at the 37th and Broadway store spent their morning picketing because a fellow employee had been fired the previous day in what the workers believe is an act of union busting. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett Starbucks workers go on strike after employee fired

The employee and her fellow union members claim she was fired for supporting the union. Starbucks denies it.

X
Property values soar 32% in Snohomish County due to hot housing market

Assessed values are up all across the county since last year. The impact on tax bills won’t be known for a few months.

A Kenmore Air Cessna 208 Caravan. (Kenmore Air) 20220613
Kenmore Air to start daily flights from Paine Field to San Juans

Service begins July 14. Flights to Friday Harbor and Orcas Island airports take about 25 minutes.

Seattle Space Needle sues coffee chain over use of logo

The logo for Local Coffee Spot features a mug of hot coffee whose rising steam bears striking resemblance to the iconic tower.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Foes of state’s capital gains tax drop plans for initiative

I-1929 sponsors say they are confident a lawsuit challenging the legality of the tax will be successful.

Arlington
Smoother sailing: Arlington airport gets grant to fix runway

A $2.3 million federal grant will pave the way for a project to resurface the airfield’s main runway.