Existing Sales Up 2.0% in October


October existing sales increased 2.0%, and the first-time buyer share increased to 32% of sales. The National Association of Realtors projected that Texas and Florida sales are now expected to completely bounce back by the end of the year from declines due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Some 47% of homes sold last month were on the market less than a month, compared to 48% in September. October inventory decreased 3.2%, and is 10.4% below the level a year ago, having decreased for the 29th consecutive month. At the current sales rate, the October unsold inventory represents a 3.9-month supply, down from a 4.2-month supply last month, and a 4.4-month supply a year ago. October existing sales reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.48 million units, up from a downwardly revised 5.37 million units last month. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

October existing sales increased in all four regions, ranging from 4.2% in the Northeast to 0.8% in the Midwest. Year-over-year, the West increased 0.8% and the Northeast remained unchanged, while the Midwest and South declined by 1.5% and 1.8% respectively.

Homes stayed on the market for 34 days in October, unchanged from September, and down from 41 days a year ago.

The October all-cash sales share was 20%, unchanged from September and down from 22% a year ago. Individual investors purchased a 13% share in October, down from a 15% share last month, and unchanged from a year ago.

The October median sales price fell for a fourth consecutive month to $247,000 from a revised $247,600 in September, but was up 5.5% from last year, representing the 68th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The October median condominium/co-op price increased to $236,800 and was up 6.9% from a year ago.

Pending home sales were unchanged in September, so the increase in existing sales was good news with a robust recovery in the South from earlier hurricane devastation. Single-family construction is 10.0% ahead of last year, and builder confidence increased to an 8-month high in November. Personal income gains and jobs will continue to spur more gains by first-time buyers into the housing market.

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