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Expand chart
Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Homebuyers were busy this summer: They closed on 6.29 million properties in September on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, up 7% from August, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Why it matters: Lower mortgage rates made purchasing an attractive option, despite higher sales prices.

  • Demand has pushed up the median sales price by 13.3% compared to a year ago.
  • Yes, but: Lack of affordability kicked first-time homebuyers out — they made up 28% of sales, the lowest level in six years.

By the numbers: Though prices are up substantially from a year ago, September's median price of $352,800 showed a slight cooling compared to August.

  • Inventory dropped 13% from last year.
  • The average 30-year fixed rates fell below 3% in August.

What’s happening where: Buying activity was highest in the South, which grew 8.6% from August, and is flat compared to last year (all other regions declined year over year).

  • Sales activity was highest for homes over $1 million (+30.5%) followed by the $750k-$1 million group (+26.6%), while sales fell for the lowest price ranges — homes under $100k-$250k (-22.7%) and under $100k (-21.2%).

The big picture: Existing-home sales slowed from last year, down 2.3%, but are still up 17.4% from the pre-pandemic period two years ago.

What we're watching: Over the next six months, sales may trend down as mortgage rates rise, and with inventory near record lows and home buying sentiment at 39-year lows, Matthew Pointon, senior property economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.

Go deeper

Fewer turkeys, higher costs ahead of Thanksgiving

Bronze turkeys ready for market. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As Thanksgiving nears, economists warn that broader supply chain issues have trickled down to turkeys this holiday season.

The big picture: If you haven't bought a turkey yet for your feast, now's the time. Labor shortages and higher feed costs have jolted inventory and prices, according to David Anderson, professor and extension economist at Texas A&M University's department of agricultural economics.

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.