Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales rose 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million in October from a downwardly revised 4.69 million in September, and are 10.9% above the 4.32 million-unit level in October 2011.
Despite the destruction brought by Hurricane Sandy, existing-home sales in the Northeast only fell 1.7% to an annual pace of 580,000 in October. Regional sales are 13.7% above October 2011. The median price in the Northeast was $232,600, which is 4.6% above a year ago.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,600 in October, which is 11.1% above a year ago. This marks eight consecutive monthly year-over-year increases, which last occurred from October 2005 to May 2006. Distressed homes accounted for 24% of October sales – 12% were foreclosures and 12% were short sales. This is unchanged from September and down from 28% in October 2011.Â
Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 1.4% to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.4-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.6 months in September. This is the lowest housing supply since February 2006, when it was 5.2 months.Â
First-time buyers accounted for 31% of purchases in October, compared with 32% in September and 34% in October 2011. All-cash sales were at 29% of transactions in October, up slightly from 28% in September and unchanged from a year ago.