Existing Home Sales Decline Further in November

As rapid rising mortgage rates continue to weaken housing demand, the volume of existing home sales has declined for ten consecutive months as of November, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This is the longest run of declines since 1999. While mortgage rates have retreated in recent weeks due to recession concerns, they are likely to see another up cycle in 2023. Additionally, home price appreciation slowed for the fifth month after reaching a record high of $413,800 in June.

Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 7.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million in November, the lowest pace since November 2010 with the exception of April and May 2020. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 35.4% lower than a year ago.

The first-time buyer share stayed at 28% in November, unchanged from last month but up from 26% in November 2021. The November inventory level fell from 1.22 to 1.14 million units but was up 1.11 million from a year ago.

At the current sales rate, November unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply, same as last month but up from 2.1-months reading a year ago.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of 24 days in November, up from 21 days in October and 18 days in November 2021. In November, 61% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

The November all-cash sales share was 26% of transactions, identical to last month and up from 24% a year ago.

The November median sales price of all existing homes was $370,700, up 3.5% from a year ago, representing the 129th consecutive month of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $321,600 in November was up 5.8% from a year ago.

Geographically, sales in all four regions dropped in November, ranging from 5.6% in the Midwest to 12.5% in the West. On a year-over-year basis, all four regions saw a double-digit decline in sales, ranging from 28.4% in the Northeast to 45.7% in the West.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts. The PHSI fell 4.6% from 80.8 to 77.1 in October. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales were 37.0% lower than a year ago per the NAR data.

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