Existing Home Sales - Report
Home Sales Pace
U.S existing-home sales fell again in October as prices continued to climb, pushing some buyers out of the market, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Sales of existing homes fell 3.2 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million, down from 5.29 million in September. Compared with the year before however, sales are up 6.0 percent. Even with monthly decreases over the past two months, sales have been up on a yearly basis for 28 straight months now.
Prices on the other hand were up on both a monthly and yearly basis. The national median existing-home price rose to $199,500, an increase from $198,500 in September and up 12.8 percent from October 2012.
The problem lies in limited inventory according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun."The erosion in buying power is dampening home sales," he said in a press release. "Moreover, low inventory is holding back sales while at the same time pushing up home prices in most of the country. More new home construction is needed to help relieve the inventory pressure and moderate price gains."
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
All across the country sales declined in October, with the West posting the largest drop. In the Northeast, total sales fell to an annual rate of 670,000, down from 690,000 in September, but they remain 11.7 percent above October 2012 sales.
In the Midwest, sales decreased 1.6 percent to an annual pace of 1.22 million, down from 1.24 million in September, but rose 8.0 percent from the year before.
Sales in the South fell by 1.9 percent in October to an annual level of 2.06 million homes, down from 2.1 million. Compared with October 2012, sales were 7.3 percent.
In the West, sales plummeted 7.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.17 million homes, down from 1.26 million in September. Sales there are just barely higher - 0.8 percent - than the year-ago pace.
Sales Price by Region
Prices rose in the Northeast and West but were tempered by declines in the Midwest and South. In the Northeast, the median price rose to $247,300, up from $238,300 in September and up 7.4 percent from October 2012.
The price in the Midwest fell to $154,700, down from September's $157,400, but still up 9.3 percent from the previous year.
In the South, the median price decreased to $171,500 in October from $172,100 the month before. The median was up 12.9 percent from one year ago.
Prices in the West rose, with the median reaching $284,800, up from $283,000 in September. The West saw a 17.2 percent increase in year-over-year prices.
There were fewer homes on the market in October than September, but the supply relative to the sales pace grew. In October there were 2.13 million existing-homes for sale, a 1.8 percent decrease from the month before. That represents a 5.0-month supply at the current sale rate, up a tick from September's 4.9-month supply. Compared with October 2012, inventory is up 0.9 percent.
Data for November existing home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of December.