Existing-Home Sales Increased for Second Straight Month

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Existing-home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million in November, an increase of 1.9% compared with October but down 7.0% compared with November 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Regionally, sales increased 7.2% in the Northeast, 5.5% in the Midwest and 2.3% in the South, compared with the previous month. Sales in the West, however, fell 6.3%. Sales were down in all four regions on a year-over-year basis.

It was the second consecutive month that existing home sales increased on a month-over-month basis.

“The market conditions in November were mixed, with good signs of stabilizing home sales compared to recent months, though down significantly from one year ago,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “Rising inventory is clearly taming home price appreciation.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $257,700, up 4.2% from $247,200 in November 2017.

November marked the 81st straight month of year-over-year gains.

As of the end of the month there were about 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, down from 1.85 million in October but up from 1.67 million a year earlier.

That’s about a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace.

“A marked shift is occurring in the West region, with much lower sales and very soft price growth,” says Yun. “It is also the West region where consumers have expressed the weakest sentiment about home buying, largely due to lack of affordable housing inventory.”

“Inventory is plentiful on the upper-end, but a mismatch between supply and demand exists at affordable price points,” Yun adds. “Therefore, facilitating real estate development of affordable housing units in designated Opportunity Zones can provide better housing access in addition to boosting the local economy.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 42 days in November, up from 36 days in October and 40 days a year ago.

Forty-three percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in November, down from 3% last month and down from 4% a year ago to reach the lowest level since NAR began tracking in October 2008).

All-cash sales accounted for 21% of transactions in November, down from 23% in October and down from 22% in November 2017.

Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13% of homes in November, down 15% from October and down 14% from a year earlier.

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