Shutdown could have lingering effect on home sales

by Adam Smith22 Oct 2013

Existing home sales have backed off since hitting near-four year highs in August, and the recent government shutdown could hamper sales even further.

While the shutdown may have ended, its effects could still be felt in the market, National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Gary Thomas has said.

“Just one impact of the recent government shutdown – delays in tax transcripts needed for approval of mortgage loans – put a monkey wrench in the transaction process and could negatively impact sales closings in next month’s report,” he said.

And new figures from the NAR have already shown existing home sales falling 1.9% in September, edging off the highs seen in August. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yn said affordability was to blame for the decline.

“Affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases easily outpaced income growth,” he said. “Expected rising mortgage interest rates will further lower affordability in upcoming months."

But sales are still 10.7% higher than the same time last year, and have now remained above year-ago levels for 27 consecutive months.