Existing Home Sales - November Report
Last Updated: 11/18/2014
Home Sales Pace
U.S. existing-home sales made a strong comeback in September, according to the National Association of Realtors, although home prices fell on a monthly basis and inventory dropped as well.
Sales of existing homes rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million in September, up from 5.05 million in August. The new sales pace is the highest it has been in 2014, but is still down 1.7 percent from a year ago.
Meanwhile, the national median existing home price fell to $209,700, down from August’s $218,400, but the price is now up 5.6 percent from September 2013. Prices have risen on a year-over-year basis for 31 straight months.
“Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”
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
Across the country, sales picked up everywhere except the Midwest. In the Northeast, sales rose 1.5 percent to an annual pace of 680,000, up from 670,000 in August, but are down 1.4 percent from the year before.
In the Midwest, sales fell 5.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.17 million in September, down from 1.24 million the month before and down 4.9 percent from a year earlier.
Sales in the South jumped 5.0 percent to an annual level of 2.12 million, up from 2.02 million in August and up 1.4 percent from September 2013.
The West saw the biggest rise in sales with a 7.1 percent increase in September to an annual rate of 1.20 million, up from 1.12 million the month before. Compared with last year however, sales are still down 4.0 percent.
Sales Price by Region
Prices of existing homes fell in all regions of the country on a monthly basis but rose everywhere on a year-over-year basis. In the Northwest, the median price sank to $249,800 in September, down from $265,200 in August, but was up 4.8 percent from the previous year.
The Midwest saw its median price fall to $165,100, down from $172,200 in August. That was up 4.9 percent from September 2013 though.
In the South the median price slipped to $180,900 in September, down from $185,200 the month before, but it rose 5.1 percent from a year ago.
The median price in the West fell to $294,200, down from $299,900 in August. Compared with September 2013, the price was 4.0 percent higher.
The total number of homes on the market fell 1.3 percent in September to 2.30 million existing properties. At the current sales pace that represents a 5.3-month supply, down from a 5.5-month supply and down 6.0 percent from a year earlier. Realtors consider the market to be balanced between supply and demand when there is a 6-month supply.
Data for October existing home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of November.