Existing-home sales, prices surge in May

This year hasn't been great for homebuyers and sellers - and, by extension, the real estate professionals tasked with helping them. However, conditions have slowly begun to improve across the country, and this past month has been no exception.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales experienced a sharp uptick in May, helped along by rising inventory and other related factors. Existing-home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.9 percent on a monthly basis, now at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units. While this gain is certainly positive, it remains 5 percent below the level seen in May 2013. 

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, said that this change in sales is thanks in part to rising inventory and a slower home price growth, as well as a stronger job market and affordable mortgage rates.

"Rising inventory bodes well for slower price growth and greater affordability, but the amount of homes for sale is still modestly below a balanced market," Yun said. "Therefore, new home construction is still needed to keep prices and housing supply healthy in the long run."

Home prices also climb in May
Home prices, in addition to existing-home sales, ticked up in May. According to Black Knight Financial Services, this past month's increase was 0.9 percent compared to April, and up 6.4 percent year-over-year. With the recent gains, prices are now 12 percent below peak levels felt in 2006.

On a state-by-state basis, the largest increase was experienced in Georgia and Massachusetts, the news source reported. Home prices there rose 1.6 percent month-over-month. When it comes to metropolitan areas, the greatest monthly increases were Austin, Texas and San Francisco, both at 1.8 percent.

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