US colonial home

Photo: Daniel Rothamel/Flickr

Existing home sales in the US increased month-over-month in October for the second consecutive month. With October’s increase, sales activity has now reached the strongest sales pace recorded since February 2007, according to a newly released report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total existing home sales — that is, completed sales transactions of previously owned single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops — grew 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in October. This was up from the 5.49 million recorded in September.

October’s sales pace is nearly 6 percent higher than the 5.29 million recorded last year. It is also above the 5.57 million recorded in June 2016 — which had been the highest since the 5.79 million recorded in February 2007.

Meanwhile, the national median price for existing-homes — which includes all housing types — was $232,200 in October. This was 6 percent higher than the median price of $219,100 recorded last year. October marks the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year median price gains.

Inventory continued to tighten on the national level in October, dropping 0.5 percent to 2.02 million existing homes for sale from the previous month. October’s inventory was 4.3 percent lower than last year. It marked the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year inventory declines.

At the current sales pace, unsold inventory sits at a 4.3 months supply in October, below the 4.4 months recorded in September.

Homes were on the market for 41 days in October, up slightly from the 39 days recorded in September and down significantly from the 57 days recorded last year.

According to NAR data, first-time home-buyers made up 33 percent of October’s sales, only slightly below the 34 percent recorded in September.

Annual and monthly sales increases were recorded in all major US regions in October.

In the Northeast, existing home sales grew 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 750,000 in October. This was 1.4 percent higher than last year. Meanwhile, the median price for an existing-home rose in October almost 3 percent from last year to $255,500.

The Midwest recorded a 2.3 percent increase to an annual rate of 1.36 million in October, a 6.3 jump from last year. The median price also was up 5.8 percent to $181,500 from October 2015.

The South recorded a 2.8 percent increase to an annual rate of 2.22 million in October, up 4.7 percent from the same period last year. The median sale price soared in October 7.4 percent to $202,300 from last year.

Finally, a 0.8 percent increase to 1.27 million was recorded in the West increased in October, up 10.4 percent from last year. The median sale price also recorded a 7.8 percent year-over-year increase to $345,800.

“October’s strong sales gain was widespread throughout the country and can be attributed to the release of the unrealized pent-up demand that held back many would-be buyers over the summer because of tight supply,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Yun added that buyers were having more success lately despite low inventory and prices that continue to rise above incomes.

You can read the entire NAR report here.

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