New-home sales also rose sharply in August to their highest level since September 2006. Sales of newly built homes reached an annual rate of 1.01 million in August 2020, 43.2 percent higher than in August 2019, according to the Census Bureau. New-home sales were also up 4.8 percent compared to July 2020.
Low inventory and high prices
While demand for houses is strong despite the coronavirus pandemic, the shortage of homes for sale means that prices are rising rapidly in many markets. The number of existing homes for sale dropped by 18.6 percent in August 2020 compared to August 2019, according to NAR. Inventory of newly built but unsold homes also dropped dramatically by 40 percent compared to August 2019 to the lowest supply since the data has been tracked beginning in 1963.
For the Washington area, the median listing price was up 9.2 percent for the week ending Sept.