WASHINGTON – U.S. home sales rose slightly last month as the Houston housing market quickly recovered from Hurricane Harvey. Still, a shortage of available homes is thwarting many would-be buyers and limiting sales.
The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales increased 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million. That’s the first increase after three months of declines.
Sales have fallen 1.5 percent from a year ago, the first year-over-year decline since July 2016. That’s because so few homes are for sale, particularly at lower prices. Buyers have bid up prices: The median home price rose to $245,100, up 4.2 percent from a year ago. That’s faster than wage gains.
Sales in Houston rose 4 percent from a year ago after plunging 25 percent in August.