Market

US home sales settle in November after “lingering effects” of fall hurricanes

Photo: Robert Clark

After two consecutive strong months, US home sales fell in November.

Now that the lingering effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are wearing off, home sales are expected to return to “normal” levels following an unexpected fall surge, according to a report released today by the listing site Zillow.

Over the last month, new US home sales are expected to drop 10.8 percent to 611,000 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This would send sales back to “the levels that have prevailed over most of 2017,” and put new home sales up 5.5 percent from last year.

At the same time, existing home sales are predicted to inch up 1.1 percent to 5.54 million units SAAR, slightly below levels recorded this past spring and down 1.1 percent year-over-year.

Existing home sales hit a 13-month low in August, and then began to trend upward in the fall, although a great deal of this surge was driven by markets recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“Existing home sales in November likely finally, fully brushed off the lingering effects of late Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and should return to the relatively subdued levels experienced throughout much of the year,” says Zillow in the report.

A lull over the Thanksgiving holiday also likely dampened both existing and new home sales for the month.

But despite the upcoming holidays, December may turn out to not be such a bad month for the market.

"The winter months are traditionally slower for home sales but expectations around the tax bill may have pushed some home shoppers to pull the trigger earlier than they might have otherwise," Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas tells BuzzBuzzNews.

Home sales are likely to remain flat, but could be offset by "holiday-related headwinds being slightly offset by a boost from buyers who sped up their search to lock in tax benefits," according to Terrazas.

Click here to read the entire report.

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