U.S. house prices continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace

Lalaine C. Delmendo | October 24, 2019

After six years of strong house price growth, the U.S. housing market is cooling. The S&P/Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted national home price index rose by just 3.13% during the year to Q2 2019 (1.46% inflation-adjusted) – the lowest growth since Q3 2012. House prices increased 2.29% during the latest quarter (1.52% inflation-adjusted), according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

Likewise, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s seasonally-adjusted purchase-only U.S. house price index rose 4.76% y-o-y in Q2 2019 (3.12% inflation-adjusted), the lowest growth in almost five years. The FHFA index increased just 0.75% q-o-q during the latest quarter (-0.02% inflation-adjusted), the weakest showing since Q4 2011.

Despite this, 19 of the 20 major U.S. cities continued to experience moderate to minimal house price hikes, according to Standard and Poor’s, with Phoenix posting the highest increase of 5.83% during the year to Q2 2019, followed by Las Vegas (5.51%), Tampa (4.71%), Charlotte (4.54%), Atlanta (4.5%), Detroit (4.21%), Boston (3.87%), Minneapolis (3.85%), Cleveland (3.43%), and Denver (3.37%). Minimal house price rises were registered in Washington (2.89%), Miami (2.77%), Dallas (2.66%), Portland (2.36%), Los Angeles (1.57%), Chicago (1.55%), San Diego (1.33%), New York (1.11%) and San Francisco (0.72%). Only Seattle saw a house price decline of 1.32% during the year to Q2 2019.

Us house price indices 10 cities

The Mountain region had the highest house price increases of 5.71% y-o-y in Q2 2019, followed by South Atlantic (5.58%), East North Central (4.89%), West South Central (4.77%), and East South Central (4.66%), according to the FHFA. More modest house price rises were registered in West North Central (4.48%), Pacific (4.33%), New England (3.64%) and Middle Atlantic (3.49%).

The average sales price of new homes sold in the U.S. fell by 1.6% y-o-y in July 2019, to US$388,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, the median sales price of new homes sold fell by 4.8% to US$312,800 over the same period.

For existing homes, the median price was up by 4.3% to US$280,800 in July 2019 from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). July’s price increase marks the 89th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Demand remains robust. During the year to July 2019, new and existing home sales increased by 4.3% and 2.5%, respectively (at seasonally-adjusted annual rate). Construction activity is increasing again, amidst improving homebuilder sentiment buoyed by lower mortgage rates. In August 2019, building permits authorized for new housing units soared 12% y-o-y to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1,419,000 units, according to the US Census Bureau. Likewise, housing starts and completions were up 6.6% and 5%, respectively.

The U.S. housing market is expected to continue to slow in the coming years. NAR projects existing home sales to be flat this year. In addition, the national median existing-home price is forecast to rise by a modest 2.3% in 2019, down from last year’s 4.9% price growth.

US house prices

“The forecast for home sales will be very boring – meaning stable,” said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Home price appreciation will slow down – the days of easy price gains are coming to an end – but prices will continue to rise.”

The U.S. economy grew by 3% in 2018 from a year earlier, up from an expansion of 2.2% in 2017 and actually the fastest pace since 2005, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. However the economy is expected to slow, with projected GDP growth rates of just 2.1% this year, 2% in 2020 and 1.8% in 2021, mainly due to the ongoing trade war, according to the Fed.

The story of the U.S. housing boom and bust

All 20 main U.S. cities experienced spectacular house price rises during the boom (1996-Q1 2006). Los Angeles had the biggest house price rise, at 265.5%, followed by San Diego (247.7%), San Francisco (226.6%), and Miami (213.1%).

Then in Q2 2006, house prices started to fall. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite-20 home price index plunged 33.8% from Q2 2006 to Q4 2011. Phoenix registered the biggest drop (-55.2%) among the twenty largest metro areas, followed by Miami (-50.5%), Detroit (-42.8%), San Francisco (-41%), Los Angeles (-40.7%), and San Diego (-39.7%).

HOUSE PRICE CHANGE (%)

US Cities Housing boom (Jan 1996-Mar 2006) Housing crash, global crisis (Apr 2006-Dec 2011) Housing recovery, boom (Jan 2012-Dec 2018) Q2 2019 (y-o-y change)
New York 172.58 -24.45 25.30 1.11
Los Angeles 265.49 -40.06 75.17 1.57
Chicago 96.84 -33.47 31.87 1.55
Phoenix 182.59 -54.73 82.19 5.83
San Diego 247.66 -39.68 69.22 1.33
Dallas - -7.53 66.88 2.66
San Francisco 226.59 -40.82 108.26 0.72
Detroit 71.99 -43.31 75.55 4.21
Boston 152.49 -16.38 45.58 3.87
Seattle 134.22 -23.97 87.86 -1.32
Composite-10 192.25 -33.52 52.88 1.82
Composite-20 - -33.31 57.30 2.13
Sources: S&P, Global Property Guide

The U.S. housing market started to recover in the second half of 2012. All 20 largest cities in the U.S., except New York, saw house price rises in 2012 from a year earlier.

In 2013, the S&P/Case-Shiller composite-20 home price index soared 13.5% from a year. House prices continue to rise in the following years, albeit at a much slower pace. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite-20 home price index rose by 4.3% in 2014, by 5.6% in 2015, by 5.4% in 2016, by 6.3% in 2017 and by 4.1% in 2018.

Nationwide home sales improving, amidst falling interest rates

Existing home sales (which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and coops) stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.42 million units in July 2019, up 2.5% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

By region:

  • In the Northeast, existing home sales fell by 4.3% in July 2019 from a year earlier, to an annual rate of 660,000 units.
  • In the Midwest, existing home sales rose slightly by 0.8% in July 2019 from a year earlier, to 1.27 million units.
  • In the South, existing home sales rose by 2.7% to 2.31 million units in July 2019 from a year earlier.
  • In the West, existing home sales fell slightly by 0.8% y-o-y to 1.18 million units in July 2019.

NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun claims that the rising demand was mainly due to falling interest rates. “Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. However, he added that the supply of affordable housing is severely low. “The shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.”

Likewise, new homes sold rose by 4.3% y-o-y to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 635,000 units in July 2019, according to the US Census Bureau.

US new houses sold

First-time homebuyers accounted for about 32% of total sales in July 2019, unchanged from a year ago, according to NAR. In addition, all-cash sales were 19% of all transactions in July 2019, slightly down from 20% a year earlier. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 11% of homes in July 2019, down from 12% a year ago.

Residential properties typically stayed on the market for 29 days in July 2019, slightly up from 27 days a year earlier, according to NAR. About 51% of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

Residential construction increasing

Residential construction activity continues to rise strongly, partly driven by lower mortgages rates. In August 2019 (at seasonally adjusted annual rate):

  • Housing starts: 1,364,000 units, up 6.6% from a year earlier
  • Housing completions: 1,294,000 units, up 5% from a year earlier
  • Housing permits: 1,419,000 units, up 12% from a year earlier

U.S. homebuilder sentiment increased to 68 in September 2019, up from an upwardly revised 67 in August and the highest level in almost a year, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). A reading of 50 is the midpoint between positive and negative sentiment.

“Low interest rates and solid demand continue to fuel builders’ sentiments even as they continue to grapple with ongoing supply-side challenges that hinder housing affordability, including a shortage of lots and labor,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde.

“However, builders are expressing growing concerns regarding uncertainty stemming from the trade dispute with China,” warned NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

US residential construction

From 1990 to 2007, housing completions averaged 1.5 million units per year, peaking at almost 2,000,000 completions in 2006, but crashed to 584,900 units in 2011. Residential construction started to recover in 2012, and by 2018 was back at 1,184,900 units. However, this is still far below the peak of 2005/6.

The total number of existing homes available for sale fell by 1.6% y-o-y to 1.89 million units in July 2019, according to NAR. Existing homes inventory was at 4.2 months supply, slightly down from 4.3 months supply a year ago. On the other hand, the seasonally-adjusted inventory of new houses for sale at the end of July 2019 was 337,000 - equivalent to about 6.4 months of supply, up from 5.9 months of supply a year earlier, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Foreclosures continue to fall

Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were down by 18% in the first half of 2019 from a year earlier at 296,458 properties, and down by 82% from a peak of 1,654,634 properties in H1 2010, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

The foreclosure rate was 0.22% of all housing units in the U.S. in the first half of 2019, down from 0.47% in 2018, 0.51% in 2017, 0.7% in 2016 and from the peak of 2.23% in 2010. New Jersey had the highest foreclosure rate in the country in H1 2019, at 0.54% of all housing units with a foreclosure filing, followed by Delaware (0.46%), Maryland (0.43%), Florida (0.39%) and Illinois (0.38%).

“Our midyear 2019 foreclosure activity helps to show an overall view on how foreclosure activity is trending downward,” said Todd Teta of ATTOM Data Solutions. “Of course, you still have pockets across the nation where foreclosure activity is seeing some flare-ups. Foreclosure starts is a good indication of markets to watch. For instance, in looking at the largest markets across the nation with the greatest annual increase in foreclosure starts, 4 out of the 5 markets were in Florida.”

US deliquency rate

Likewise, the delinquency rate on single-family mortgages fell to 2.59% in June 2019, from 3.7% in June 2018 and 4.59% two years ago, according to the US Fed.

Interest rates falling again

The Fed Funds target rate was lowered to 2%-2.25% in August 2019 and further to 1.75%-2% in September 2019, after four rate hikes from January 2018 to July 2019.

US interest rates

As a result, mortgage interest rates also falling again.

  • The average interest rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) was 3.62% in August 2019, down from 4.55% in August 2018.
  • The average rate for 15-year FRMs was 3.2% in July 2019, down from 4.01% a year earlier.
  • The average rate for 5-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) fell to 3.36% in August 2019 from 3.87% a year earlier.

Buoyed by falling interest rates, mortgage debt outstanding rose by 3.3% y-o-y to US$15.63 trillion in Q2 2019 from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve System. One- to four-family residences accounted for about 70.2% of the total amount of mortgage loans outstanding in Q2 2019.

US outstanding mortgage debt

The size of the mortgage market was equivalent to more than 75% of GDP in 2018, down from more than 77% in the past five years, and far lower than the 100.1% of GDP in 2009, based on Global Property Guide estimates.

Rents continue to increase strongly

Rising rents are another sign of the increasingly healthy U.S. economy. The median asking rent in the U.S. rose by 6% y-o-y to US$1,008 per month in Q2 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

US median asking rent
  • In the Northeast, the median asking rent soared by 14.9% in Q2 2019 from a year earlier, to US$1,303 per month.
  • In the Midwest, the median asking rent rose by 3.5% y-o-y to US$797 per month in Q2 2019.
  • In the South, the median asking rent rose by 1.8% y-o-y to US$945 per month in Q2 2019.
  • In the West, the median asking rent was unchanged at US$1,358 per month in Q2 2019 from a year earlier.


Median rents were more or less static from 2008 to 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However since 2015, rents have risen at least as fast as house prices.

US rental vacancy

The nationwide rental vacancy rate was 6.8% in Q2 2019, down from 7% in the previous quarter but at unchanged from a year earlier, based on figures by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The West had the lowest rental vacancy rate of 4.8% in Q2 2019, followed by the Northeast (5.3%), and the Midwest (6.8%). The South had the highest rental vacancy rate of 8.9% over the same period.

US house price rents

Homeownership rate falling again

After three years of growth, homeownership has declined again in the first half of 2019, amidst the continued rise in property prices and tight credit standards. Homeownership in the U.S. stood at 64.1% in Q2 2019, down from 64.4% in 2018 and below the peak level of 69% in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

US home ownership rate

By region:

  • In the Northeast, the homeownership rate was 61.2% in Q2 2019, down from 61.3% a year earlier and from 65% in 2004.
  • In the West, homeownership rate fell to 59.3% in Q2 2019, from 59.7% a year earlier. It was far below its peak of 64.2%.
  • In the Midwest, the homeownership rate was 68% in Q2 2019, down from 68.3% a year earlier and still far from 73.8% in 2004.
  • In the South, the homeownership rate stood at 66% in Q2 2019, an slight improvement from 65.9% in the previous year and still far below its peak of 70.9% in 2004.

The new tax law and the housing market

President Donald Trump recently signed a landmark tax law (known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or TCJA), the largest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in over 30 years. Effective January 1, 2018, the law includes a massive reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, to boost economic growth and stimulate business investment. But it also reduces the mortgage interest deduction cap, increases standard deductions, but restricts state and local tax deductions - with uncertain effects on the housing market.

  • Mortgage interest deduction cap will decrease. The new law caps the deduction threshold, which helps homeowners lower their taxable income, on new homes at the first US$750,000 of a loan from the original US$1 million.
  • Standard deduction will increase. The new law raises the standard deduction for all taxpayers to US$12,000 for single filers and to US$24,000 for joint filers. This implies that it may no longer be better for some households to itemize the mortgage interest deduction since it would be lower than their standard deduction.
  • The state and local tax (SALT) deduction will be restricted. The new law caps the SALT deduction at US$10,000 of property value, individual income, and sales taxes. This will have the greatest impact on high-income households since about 93% of households earning US$200,000 to US$300,000 annually claim the SALT deduction, compared with only 39% of households earning US$50,000 to US$75,000.

"While more disposable income for buyers is positive for housing, the loss of tax benefits for owners could lead to fewer sales and impact prices negatively over time with the largest impact on markets with higher prices and incomes," said Danielle Hale of Realtor.com.

In 2018, homes sales fell sharply from a year earlier but it is difficult to attribute this decline to the new tax law.  

US gdp inflation

Some economists also expressed concerns that the new tax law will only hurt the housing market in the long run. At one extreme, the National Association of Home Builders warned of a possible housing recession.

"You’re talking about potentially causing housing recessions in some of the biggest markets in the country, and those kinds of recessions tend to have spillovers," said Jerry Howard of the National Association of Home Builders. "We’re worried about a national housing recession."

This concern was supported by the National Association of Realtors: "Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home values and middle-class homeowners at risk, and from a cursory examination this legislation appears to do just that," said William Brown of NAR.

US economy to slow, deficit continue to rise

The U.S. economy grew by 3% in 2018 from a year earlier, up from an expansion of 2.2% in 2017 and actually the fastest pace since 2005, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. The economic growth was mainly fuelled by strong consumer spending, which is supported by rising household wealth, higher house prices, tax cuts, and wage growth.

The economy is expected to slow in the coming years, with projected GDP growth rates of 2.1% this year, 2% in 2020 and 1.8% in 2021, according to the Fed, as the stimulative effects of the tax cuts wane and the federal budget deficit surges, exacerbated by the country’s ongoing trade war with China.

The federal government ran a deficit of about US$779 billion in 2018, up from the previous year’s US$665 billion and the highest level since 2012. As a result, the budget deficit widened to 3.9% of GDP in 2018, up from 3.5% in 2017, 3.2% in 2016 and 2.5% of GDP in 2015. Despite this, the deficit remains far lower than the deficit of 10.1% of GDP recorded in 2009.

The federal budget deficit is projected to increase further this year to US$900 billion and to exceed US$1 trillion beginning in 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

National debt reached almost US$22 trillion in 2018, up from US$20.2 trillion in the previous year, according to the U.S. Treasury. Debt held by the public was US$16.1 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were US$5.87 trillion.

US unemployment

Overall, inflation was estimated at 2.4% last year, the highest level since 2011, according to the IMF.

The labour market remains fundamentally strong, with the nationwide unemployment rate remains at near historic low of 3.7% in August 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average hourly earnings increased by 3.2% to US$28.11 in August 2019 from a year earlier.

Foreign buyer interest in the U.S. is falling.

Six states in the U.S. see the strongest foreign buyer interest - Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, and Hawaii.  Unfortunately several have been hit by the impact of Trump’s trade war.  But in all cases, the buoyant domestic market has more than outweighed any slowdown in foreign demand.

Florida

Florida’s housing market is buoyed primarily by foreign investors rather than local homebuyers. In fact, one in 5 foreign buyers in the US purchased their properties in Florida, according to NAR. About 41% of Canadian buyers, often referred to as snow birds, purchased in Florida.

“Many Canadians and other foreigners found Florida so enticing because of its lenient tax laws,” said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Additionally, many Florida metro areas have an inventory of cheaper properties, relatively speaking – a combination which makes the state a very popular destination.”

In Q2 2019, Florida’s median sales price for existing single-family homes rose by 3.3% y-o-y to US$265,000, according to Florida Realtors. Likewise, statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties were up by 2.9% y-o-y to US$195,000. During the year to Q2 2019, house prices rose by 3.3% in Orlando, 2% in both Jacksonville and Miami, and 2.5% in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Closed sales for single-family homes rose by 4.6% to 85,017 units in Q2 2019 from a year earlier, according to Florida Realtors. In contrast, sales for condos and townhouses fell slightly by 1.4% y-o-y to 34,128 units.

“Florida continues to attract new residents and businesses,” said Florida Realtors President Eric Sain. “In fact, our population is growing by about 906 new residents every day, or more than 300,000 people a year – that’s like adding a city about the size of Orlando every year, according to a recent report from state economists. This population growth, a current unemployment rate of 3.4% and a favorable jobs outlook continue to keep Florida’s economy strong.”

Florida is one of the most populated states in the United States. Many of its cities are heavily dependent on retirees, with residents aged 60 years and older comprising more than 20% of the population. In fact in Naples, they make up more than 61%, according to an article by Forbes.

In Q2 2019, single-family homes typically stayed on the market for 41 days while condos and townhouses for 52 days. Inventory was at a 3.9 months supply for single-family homes and at a 5.7 months supply for condos and townhouses in Q2 2019, according to Florida Realtors.

California

California is the most populous US state with more than 39.8 million residents, and the second most popular destination for foreign homebuyers, next to Florida. The state accounts for about 12% of all international purchases in the country every year. Based on a recent survey by NAR, about one-third of foreign purchases in California were made by Chinese citizens, followed by UK buyers (20%), and Indian and Mexican citizens (10% each).

Southern California had been particularly popular with Chinese parents hoping to send their children to American universities. However in the midst of a growing trade war between the US and China, overall Chinese investment in the US housing market plunged by 56% to US$13.4 billion in the year that ended-Q1 2019, according to NAR. In California, Chinese buyer inquiries for US properties on Juwai.com were down 27.5% in Q1 2019 from a year ago. Inquiries have been falling in four of the last five quarters.

“We call it the Trump effect. It’s a combination of anti-Chinese political rhetoric, a clampdown on visa processing, and of course tariffs,” said Carrie Law, the CEO of Juwai.com. “The Trump effect is undercutting some of the primary drivers of Chinese demand for US property, including buying homes for students who are studying in the US and the country’s reputation as a safe investment.”

Yet, overall demand remains stable. In August 2019, existing single-family home sales were up 1.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 406,100 units, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). However, the median number of days it took to sell a California home inched up slightly to 23 days in August 2019, from 21 days a year earlier.

The statewide median home price rose by 3.6% y-o-y to a record high of US$617,410 in August 2019, based on figures from CAR. Inland Empire registered the biggest house price growth of 6.7% during the year to August 2019, followed by the Central Valley (5.5%), Los Angeles Metro (3.8%) and Central Coast (3.4%). Bay Area, which has the most expensive housing in San Francisco, saw a price decline of 3.7% y-o-y in August 2019 to an average price of US$900,000.

“Fueled by mortgage interest rates at near-three-year lows, California’s housing market recorded a second consecutive year-over-year sales increase while the median home price reached a new high,” said CAR. “However, buyers remain cautious, and many are reluctant to jump in because of the economic and market uncertainty that continue to linger, and that is keeping growth subdued despite significantly lower rates,” said CAR President Jared Martin.

Texas

Texas is another favorite destination for international investors, especially for Indian and Mexican homebuyers. The “Lone Star State” steadily represents about 9% to 12% of all US homes sold to foreign buyers. About 28% of buyers from Mexico bought homes in Texas in the year that ended-Q1 2019. Texas is also a hotspot for buyers from India (13%), the UK (4%), China (3%) and Canada (3%).

However similar to the national trend, foreign property sales in Texas is also falling. In the year that ended-Q1 2019, foreign homebuyers spent just US$7.8 billion on 18,310 Texas homes, down 28% from a year earlier and the lowest level in six years, according to the Texas Association of Realtors.

But aside from foreign investors, Texas is also a popular location for domestic buyers because it has no state income tax. These local investors are now keeping the market afloat. In Q2 2019, total closed sales rose slightly by 1% 101,896 homes from a year earlier, following a 1.7% growth in 2018, according to Texas Realtors.

The median home price increased 2.9% to US$245,000 in Q2 2019 from a year earlier, based on figures from Texas Realtors. Dallas-Forth Worth-Arlington area, which accounts for almost 30% of the Texas market, the median price rose by 1.9% y-o-y to US$280,000 in Q2 2019. The median price also increased 3.1% to US$325,000 in Austin-Round Rock area, and by 3.8% to US$249,000 in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area.

Residential properties typically stayed on the market for a total 88 days in Q2 2019, slightly up from 87 days a year earlier. Inventory was at a 4.1 months supply in Q2 2019, up from 3.8 months a year earlier.

Arizona

Despite nationwide slowdown, Arizona’s housing market remains very tight, amidst strong population growth coupled with very low housing supply. In the Phoenix Metro Area, the median sales price rose strongly by 6.5% y-o-y to US$280,000 in August 2019, according to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (ARMLS). This is in line with the S&P/Case-Shiller index which showed that Phoenix saw the highest y-o-y house price growth during the year to Q2 2019.

In August 2019, total sales were up 8.6% to 8,726 units from a year earlier. In contrast, new inventory fell by 2.1% y-o-y to 9,436 units in August 2019. In fact total inventory was down 11.8% to 17,492 units over the same period.

Based on a recent report by Re/Max, Phoenix housing market has one of the lowest levels of supply in 2019. “A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In August 2019…the markets with the lowest months supply of inventory were Phoenix, AZ and Manchester, NH, both at 1.5.”

Residential properties typically stayed on the market for 63 days in August 2019, slightly up from 62 days a year earlier.

Arizona, especially its capital Phoenix, draws interest from foreign homebuyers because of its year-round sunny weather and warm temperatures. It is also known for its high-end spa resorts, vibrant nightclubs and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses. The Grand Canyon, recognized as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, attracts millions of visitors each year.

New Jersey

New Jersey is known for its 130 miles of coastline, spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Its beautiful white-sand beaches and boardwalks draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year – with many of whom decide to purchase a home later on. Particularly famous is the Jersey Shore because of its unique natural, residential, and cultural characteristics owing to its location by the ocean. New Jersey is also known for its Italian population and preserved Victorian buildings.

In August 2019, New Jersey’s median sales price for existing single-family homes rose by 4.4% y-o-y to US$329,000, based on figures from the New Jersey Realtors. Likewise, statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties were up by 5.4% y-o-y to US$274,000.

In the first eight months of 2019, closed sales for single-family homes fell by 1.7% y-o-y to 55,784 units and by 5.5% to 15,400 units for condos and townhouses, according to the New Jersey Realtors.

The average days on the market for single-family homes was 58 days in August 2019, unchanged from a year earlier. Inventory was at a 5 months supply in August 2019, down from 5 months a year earlier.

Hawaii

Hawaii is a world-renowned tourist destination, known for its beautiful islands lined with beaches of warm, white sand and green, lush flora. The state’s peace and serenity, beach life, golf courses, natural parks, and culture are simply irresistible for tourists and international buyers around the world.

In 2018, tourist arrivals rose by almost 6% to a record 9.9 million people from a year earlier. Most homebuyers in Hawaii come from California, Arizona, China, Germany, Russia, Japan and Canada.

The statewide median sales price rose by 5.2% y-o-y to US$673,125 in August 2019, according to Hawai’i Realtors. Though, the state’s local housing market is now two-tiered with strong house price rises seen in Maui (19.64%) and Hawaii county (12.68%). In contrast, house prices fell in Kauai (-4.32%) and Oahu (-2.47%).

Maui and Oahu had the most expensive housing in Hawaii in August 2019, with average prices of US$837,500 and US$790,000, respectively.

Sales of single-family homes rose by 5.9% y-o-y in August 2019 but fell by 6.9% for condos and townhouses, based on Hawai’i Realtors figures.

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