Existing Home Sales - January Report
Last Updated: 1/7/2015
Home Sales Pace
U.S. existing-home sales tumbled in November, according to the National Association of Realtors, a product of low inventory, higher prices and general nervousness in the stock markets.
Total sales of existing-home dropped 6.1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million properties, down from 5.25 million in October. While November’s sales fell to a six-month low, they were still up 2.1 percent from the previous year.
Fewer people bought homes last month despite interest rates being at their lowest levels of the year,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The stock market swings in October may have impacted some consumers’ psyches and therefore led to fewer November closings. Furthermore, rising home values are causing more investors to retreat from the market.”
He added, “Lagging homebuilding activity continues to hamstring overall housing supply and is still too low in relation to this year’s promising job growth. Much faster price and rent appreciation – easily exceeding wage growth – will occur next year unless new construction picks up measurably.”
The median existing-home price slipped to $205,300 in November, down from $207,500 in October. However, it is up 5.0 percent from November 2013, the 33rd straight month of year-over-year price appreciation.
The NAR defines existing homes as all previously-owned single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, and co-ops. The group “seasonally adjusts” the sales numbers to factor in things like inclement weather, school sessions, winter holidays, etc. to smooth out the trends.
The NAR also describes its sales data based on an annual pace. The monthly figure represents the total number of housing units that would be sold in one year if the current rate were to continue unchanged.
Sales Pace by Region
Sales fell in every region of the country in November. The Northeast saw existing-home sales drop to an annual pace of 680,000, down 4.2 percent from October’s 710,000. Yet compared with the year before, sales were 4.6 percent higher.
In the Midwest, sales fell to an annual rate of 1.13 million, down 8.9 percent from 1.24 million the previous months and were also down 1.7 percent from November 2013.
Sales in the South declined to an annual level of 2.09 million, down .2 percent from 2.16 million in October. Still sales are up 5.0 percent there from the previous year.
Sales fell the most in the West with a 9.6 percent drop to an annual pace of 1.03 million in November, down from 1.14 million the month before. Sales are also down 1.0 percent from November 2013.
Sales Price by Region
Median prices dropped everywhere except the Northeast in November. There the price rose to $246,100, up from $245,800 in October and it was up 1.3 percent from the previous year.
In the Midwest, the median price fell to $160,500, down from $163,100 the month before, but it was up 7.0 percent from November 2013.
The median price in the South slipped to $176,500, down from October’s $177,800 but up 5.2 percent from the year before.
The median price in the West dropped to $292,700 in November, down from $295,500 the previous month. Compared with the year before, the price was up 3.5 percent however.
Inventory plummeted 6.7 percent in November, falling to 2.09 million homes. At the current sales pace, that represents a 5.1-month supply, unchanged from October but 2.0 percent higher than a year ago. Realtors consider the market to be balanced between supply and demand when there is a 6-month supply of homes for sale.
Data for December existing home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of January.