Number of home sales rises in the US

The US property market’s is continuing its strong recovery following years of stagnation, recently released housing figures show.

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According to the latest data carried out by market researcher RealtyTrac, the number of US residential-property sales made in July rose by 11 per cent from a year earlier.

Only eight states posted annual decreases in total sales during the month, including California (down 17 per cent), Arizona (down 11 per cent), Nevada (down 7 per cent), and Georgia (down 2 per cent). However, these four states also posted the four biggest annual increases in median home prices in July: California (up 31 per cent), Nevada (up 27 per cent), Arizona (up 21 per cent) and Georgia (up 20 percent).

Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin recorded the biggest year-over-year sales gains of any state.

The RealtyTrac figures show that house prices are also continuing their upward momentum. The national median sales price was $174,500 for the month, up 6 per cent from a year earlier and an increase of 4 per cent from June. This is the 16th consecutive month that the national median house price has increased.

What’s more, cash purchases are becoming more common. All-cash purchases represented 40 per cent of all home sales made in the US last month, compared with 31 per cent in the same period a year ago and 35 per cent of all sales in June. According to RealtyTrac, a recent rise in interest rates may be contributing to a higher percentage of cash purchases as some non-cash buyers can no longer afford to buy, particularly in high-priced markets.

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“Low inventory of homes available for sale is proving to be a double-edged sword in many local housing markets that have bounced back quickly from the real estate slump,” said Daren Blomquist, Vice President at RealtyTrac. “Home prices are accelerating rapidly in these markets thanks to the combination of low supply and strong demand. However, counter to the national trend, sales volume in these markets is down even as the percentage of cash sales rises, indicating there is still strong demand but that buyers who need financing to purchase are increasingly left out in the cold.”