Existing Home Sales Decline in November


After downward revisions made to October data, existing home sales, released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), declined more than expected in November.

Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in November. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 2.7% higher than a year ago, fifth straight month of year-on-year gains.

The first-time buyer share rose to 32% in November from 31% last month but lower than a year ago (33%). The November inventory decreased to 1.64 million units from 1.77 million units in October and 1.74 million units a year ago. At the current sales rate, the November unsold inventory represents a 3.7-month supply, down from a 3.9-month supply last month and down from a 4.0-month a year ago.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of 38 days in November, up from 36 days last month but down from 42 days a year ago. In November, 45% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

The November all-cash sales shared 20% of transactions, about even with 19% last month and 21% a year ago.

The November median sales price of all existing homes was $271,300, up 5.4% from a year ago, representing the 93rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $248,200 in November was up 4.5% from a year ago.

Regionally, while existing sales in the Northeast and Midwest grew 1.4% and 2.3% compared to the previous month, sales fell 3.9% and 3.5% in the South and the West. On a year-over-year basis, sales rose in all four major regions except for the Northeast, ranging from 1.5% in the Midwest to 4.8% in the West. Sales in the Northeast declined 1.4% from a year ago.

In addition to regional data, NAR recently compiled and released top 10 metro markets that expect to outperform over the next three to five years based on housing affordability, migration and job growth. Top 10 metro markets include Charleston, South Carolina. Charlotte, North Carolina. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Columbus, Ohio. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Collins, Colorado. Las Vegas, Nevada. Ogden, Utah. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida.

Though housing market has been lifted this year by lower mortgage rates and continuing job expansion, the growth has also been curbed by low housing inventory and elevated home prices. As mortgage rates are expected to remain low in the coming months, more new home building is needed to meet housing demand. Meanwhile, supported by low mortgage rates and solid job growth, builder confidence surged to highest reading since June 1999.

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