November Existing Home Sales Remain Strong

Existing home sales increased 5.9% in November from a downwardly revised level in October, and were up 14.5% from the same period a year ago. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that November 2012 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.04 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. That compares to 4.76 million units in October, and 4.40 million units during the same period a year ago.

Existing Home Sales November 2012

The November 2012 level of single-family existing sales increased 5.5% from October to a seasonally adjusted 4.44 million sales, and was up 12.4% from the same month a year ago. Seasonally adjusted condominium and co-op sales rose 9.1% from October to a seasonally adjusted 600,000 units, and were up 33% from the same period a year ago.

The total housing inventory at the end of November decreased 3.8% from the previous month to 2.03 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales rate, the November 2012 inventory represents a 4.8-month supply compared to a 5.3-month supply in October, and a 7.1-month supply of homes a year ago. The November housing supply is the lowest since the 4.6-month supply reported in September 2005. Some 22% of sales in November 2012 were distressed, defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. This level was down from 24% in October and 29% during the same month a year ago. The median sales price for existing homes of all types in November 2012 was $180,600, up from $176,900 in October, and up 10.1% from the same period a year ago. NAR reported that November represented the ninth consecutive monthly year-over-year price increase, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.

In November 2012, all cash sales were 30% of transactions compared to 29% in October, and  28% during November a year ago. Investors accounted for 19% of November 2012 home sales, compared to 20% in October and 19% a year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 30% of November 2012 sales, down from 31% in October and down from 35% during the same period a year ago.

The October 2012 Pending Home Sales Index increased 5.2%.  So it was expected that existing home sales would increase in November and December. Next month’s existing sales are expected to remain consistent with the pattern between existing home sales and the Pending Home Sales Index.



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