After increasing in October, existing-home sales retreated in November, falling 1.7% compared with the previous month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
However, sales were up 2.7% compared with November 2018.
Regionally, and month-over-month, existing-home sales increased 2.3% in the Midwest and 1.4% in the Northeast, however, they dropped 3.9% in the South and 3.5% in the West.
Year-over-year, existing-home sales increased 4.8% in the West, 3.7% in the South and 1.5% in the Midwest, but were down 1.4% in the Northeast.
The median home price for all housing types was $271,300, up 5.4% compared with $257,400 in November 2018.
The average home price increased in all regions.
November was the 93rd consecutive month that the average home price increased on a year-over-year basis.
Total housing inventory dipped to 1.64 million units, down about 7.3% compared with October and down 5.7% compared with November 2018.
That’s about a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 months in October.
As of the end of the month, unsold inventory totals had declined for five consecutive months.
NAR includes single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops in its results.
“Sales will be choppy when inventory levels are low, but the economy is otherwise performing very well with more than 2 million job gains in the past year,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement.
Yun adds that although builders seem to be ramping up production, “we are still not seeing the amount of construction needed to solve the housing shortage.”
“It is time for builders to be innovative and creative, possibly incorporating more factory-made modules to make houses affordable rather than building homes all on-site,” he says.
Properties typically remained on the market for 38 days in November, up from 36 days in October but down from 42 days in November 2018.
Forty-five percent of homes sold in November 2019 were on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in November, up from 31% in October but down from 33% in November 2018.