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Report: Home Sales Down, Prices Up For August

house-for-sale [1]Home sales in August remained below last year's pace for yet another month as prices inched higher, RE/MAX [2] reported on September 16.

The real estate company calculated an 8.2 percent drop in August transactions compared to a year ago. Out of the 52 metros tracked in the firm's monthly report, only four posted higher sales on an annual basis, including Charlotte (3.0 percent), Tulsa (2.8 percent), Nashville (2.6 percent), and Tampa (0.4 percent).

Compared to July, August sales were down 6.6 percent. Out of the last six months, four have seen sales climb above the previous month's pace, RE/MAX reported.

Despite the currently slower environment, RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly is keeping a positive view on recent figures, noting that August sales were still more than 10 percent higher than in 2012 and 17.8 percent higher than in 2008, when the company began reporting on monthly activity.

"Although 2014 home sales may not reach the levels seen in 2013, the market has performed much stronger than many had predicted early in the year. This year's market may have started off slowly, but it bounced back and slower price growth is keeping housing from becoming less affordable," Kelly said.

RE/MAX reported the median price of all homes sold in its surveyed markets last month was $202,500, down half a percent from July but up 7.5 percent over last year.

Among all the metros surveyed for the report, 39 reported higher sales prices than last year, and two were flat. The largest increases were recorded in Detroit (15.4 percent), Nashville (12.3 percent), Fargo (12.3 percent), San Francisco (11.1 percent), and Las Vegas (10.8 percent).

On an annual basis, median sales prices have climbed for 31 consecutive months—however, like other metrics, RE/MAX's price measure has slowed down considerably over the last year as inventory levels have improved.

For August, RE/MAX reported the supply of for-sale homes was down 4.4 percent, worse than July's 3.5 percent drop. At the current rate of home sales, the company estimates the market held 4.5 months' worth of supply. Six months' supply is considered a balanced market for both buyers and sellers.

Meanwhile, apparent demand for the available housing stock was more or less flat, average 62 days on market for all homes sold in August, two days more than in July and the same as a year ago.