Existing Home Sales Jump to 11-Year Highs
On the heels of a very strong new home sales report last month, the National Association of Realtors announced today existing-home sales surged for the third straight month in November and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years.
All major regions except for the West saw a significant hike in sales activity last month.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October.
After last month’s increase, sales are 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and are at their strongest pace since December 2006 (6.42 million).
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says home sales in most of the country expanded at a tremendous clip in November.
“Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end,” he said. “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.”
Meanwhile, the median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $248,000, up 5.8 percent from November 2016 ($234,400). November’s price increase marks the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of November dropped 7.2 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.7 percent lower than a year ago (1.85 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 30 consecutive months.
Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.0 months a year ago.
“The anticipated rise in mortgage rates next year could further cut into affordability if these staggeringly low supply levels persist,” said Yun. “Price appreciation is too fast in a lot of markets right now. The increase in home
builder optimism must translate to significantly more new construction in 2018 to help ease these acute inventory shortages.”