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Existing-home sales edge up in November

The median existing single-family home price is up 5%.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Total existing-home sales increased 1.9% in November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported.

Completed transactions of single-family, townhomes, condos, and co-ops are included in the latest numbers with 3 of the 4 major U.S. regions showing gains. But sales are down 7% from a year ago and a rate of 5.72 million in November 2017.

Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.71 million in November, up from 4.62 million in October but 6.7% below the 5.05 million sales pace from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $260,500 in November, up 5% percent from November 2017.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in November, up 1.7% from last month but down 9% percent from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $236,400 in November, which is down 1.3% from a year ago.

“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. Rising inventory is clearly taming home price appreciation,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $257,700, up 4.2% from November 2017 ($247,200). This marks the 81st straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of November decreased to 1.74 million, down from 1.85 million existing homes available for sale in October, and represents an increase of more than 4% from 1.67 million existing units a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.3 last month and up from 3.5 months a year ago, the NAR said.

By region, November existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 7.2% to an annual rate of 740,000, which is 2.6% below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $291,400, which is up 6.5% from November 2017.

Existing-home sales rose 5.5% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1.34 million in November, down 4.3% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $199,100, up 2.6% from last year.

In the South, existing-home sales grew 2.3% to an annual rate of 2.20 million in November, but are down 5.6% from last year. The median price in the South was $223,600, up 3.2% from a year ago.

The West is the only region that showed a decline in November with existing-home sales falling 6.3% to an annual rate of 1.04 million in November, 15.4% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $380,600 up 1.8% from November 2017.

“Inventory is plentiful on the upper-end, but a mismatch between supply and demand exists at affordable price points,” Yun said. “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 stayed on the market for 42 days in November, up from 36 days in October and 40 days a year ago. About 43% of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in November, up from 31% in October and 29% for the same period a year ago.

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