The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported this morning that existing home sales rose by 2.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million units in July compared with 4.37 million units in June. Analysts had been expecting a rise to 4.52 million units.
Total housing inventory stood at 2.4 million existing homes at the end of July, up slightly from 2.39 million in June. The total represents a 6.4-month supply at the pace of sales. Last July the inventory stood at a 7.1-month supply.
The nationwide median price for an existing home sale was $187,300, up 9.4% from July 2011.
Combined with today’s earlier report on mortgage applications and the solid earnings report from homebuilder Toll Bros. Inc. (NYSE: TOL), the U.S. housing market continues to make a comeback.
While the NAR’s figures on sales are important — especially to the group’s member Realtors — the inventory numbers are probably more important as a measure of where the market is headed. Based on existing home inventory, the housing market continues its recovery.