Existing-home sales climbed 2.6 percent year-over-year and 1.3 percent from July to August, according to the latest data released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It’s the second straight month of home sale increases.

“As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.”

Despite the increased interest, a lack of inventory is still pushing up sales prices. The median existing-home price for all housing types hit $278,200, a 4.7 percent year-over-year increase and the 90th straight month of annual gains.

Unsold inventory dropped slightly to a 4.1-months supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.2-months supply in July and 4.3-months supply in August 2018.

“Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up home prices,” Yun said. “Homebuilders need to ramp up new housing, as the failure to increase construction will put home prices in danger of increasing at a faster pace than income.”

Every region but the West reported a rise in sales.

Redfin, the Seattle-based, tech-focused brokerage also released its own home sale data Thursday. Home sales increased 10.8 percent year-over-year in August, the largest annual increase since March 2017, according to Redfin. 

“Home sales are accelerating as buyers eat into a diminishing number of homes for sale,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. “While these trends are to be expected given that mortgage rates have been declining since late last year, global economic uncertainty and talk of a looming recession in the U.S. are staving off many aspects of hot seller’s market – think bidding wars, fast sales and huge price escalations – at least for now.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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