Existing-home sales declined in October, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Existing-home sales – which NAR defines as completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – fell 2.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in October, down from the September rate of 4.53 million and 25.9% below the 5.98 million-unit level in October 2009, when sales were impacted by the initial deadline for the first-time home buyer tax credit. Year-to-date, there were 4.149 million existing-home sales, down 2.9% from 4.272 million in October 2009.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,500 in October, down 0.9% from October 2009. Distressed homes accounted for 34% of sales in October, compared with 35% in September and 30% in October 2009.
‘The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery, and a temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales,’ says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. ‘Still, sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels. Based on current and improving job market conditions, and from attractive affordability conditions, sales should steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year.’