The numbers: U.S. existing-home sales fell 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million in July, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.
This is the sixth straight monthly decline.
The sales number matched what economists polled by the Wall Street Journal were expecting.
This is the weakest level of sales since May 2020 at the end of the recession caused by the pandemic. Excluding the recession, the level of sales activity was lowest since November 2015.
Compared with July 2021, home sales were down 20.2%.
Key details: Prices moderated in July. The median price for an existing home fell to $403,800, up 10.8% from July 2021. That was the slowest annual pace of increase since July 2020.
The number of homes on the market rose 4.8% to 1.31 million units in July.
Expressed in terms of the months-supply metric, there was a 3.3-month supply of homes for sale in July, up from 3 months in June. Before the pandemic, a four-month supply was more the norm.
It is still a tight market. Homes remained on the market only for 14 days on average. Pre-pandemic, the average time for homes to remain on the market was a month.
Sales declined across all regions of the country. The West saw a “dramatic decline” in sales from a year ago of 30%.
All-cash transactions made up 24% of all transactions, down slightly from June. About 29% of homes were sold to first-time home buyers, down slightly from 30% in the prior month.