A report released this morning by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that total existing home sales in America, which account for a much larger portion of the overall U.S. housing market than new home sales (due out on Friday), jumped by 5.6 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million units. That was significantly better than the 0.9 percent increase economists expected and the highest headline reading since 2006. The October gain was also revised higher, which together with the strong November print helped lift the annual pace of growth to a solid 3.8 percent.
Regionally, existing home sales fell in the West (-2.3 percent) last month but rose in the Midwest (+8.4 percent), the South (+8.3 percent), and the Northeast (+6.7 percent). Total housing inventory fell 7.2 percent last month to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, which is also 9.7 percent lower compared to a year ago. Further, the median selling price was $248,000 in November, up 5.8 percent over the past year and therefore the 69th consecutive month of annual growth. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, added that “As evidenced by a subdued level of first-time buyers and increased share of cash buyers, move-up buyers with considerable down payments and those with cash made up a bulk of the sales activity last month. The odds of closing on a home are much better at the upper end of the market, where inventory conditions continue to be markedly better.”
Sources: Econoday, NAR, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch