Residential property sales in the US rebounded last month following a fall in April, helping to drive up prices in the process, the latest figures show.
High demand from buyers and a low supply of homes on the market helped to push prices higher across many parts of the country in May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
All major regions except for the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month and overall transactions rose 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million, up 2.7% year-on-year and the third highest over the past year.
“The fact that sales of existing homes rose in May, despite incredibly limited selection, shrinking times on market and rapidly rising prices, is a testament to just how strong the draw to homeownership is right now for millions of Americans,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow's chief economist.
The average sales price in May was $252,800 (£199,560), the highest nominal level on record and up 5.8% from a year earlier. There was a 4.2-month supply of homes on the market at the end of the month, based on the current sales pace. Inventory has declined on a year-over-year basis for 24 straight months.
Looking at the data, the average price of a home in the Northeast of the country has increased by 4.7% over the past year to hit $281,300 (£222,000), median price in the Midwest reached $203,900 (£161,000), up 7.3% from a year ago, the South saw growth of 5.3% to take the average price to $221,900 (£175,160), while the median price in the West is $368,800 (£291,130), up 6.9% from May 2016.
“Home prices keep chugging along at a pace that is not sustainable in the long run. Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR.