Existing Home Sales - December Report
Last Updated: 12/12/2014
Home Sales Pace
U.S. existing-home sales rose for the second month in a row in October, according to the National Association of Realtors, as low interest rates and a stabilizing economy helped more buyers enter the market.
Total sales of existing-homes grew by 1.5 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million, up from 5.18 million in September. Compared with a year ago, sales are up 2.5 percent, the first year-over-year gain in a year.
“Sales activity in October reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory and stabilizing price growth,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Furthermore, the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases.”
The national median home price fell on a monthly basis to $208,300, down from $209,100 in September, but compared with October 2013 the median price is up 5.5 percent. Prices have now risen on a year-over-year basis for 32 consecutive months.
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
Existing-home sales were up on a monthly basis in every region of the country except the West. In the Northeast, sales rose 2.9 percent to an annual pace of 710,000, up from 690,000 in September. They were up 4.4 percent from the year before.
Sales in the Midwest climbed up 5.1 percent in October to an annual rate of 1.24 million, up from 1.18 million a month earlier and up 2.5 percent from the previous year.
The South saw sales increase 2.8 percent to an annual level of 2.17 million, up from 2.11 million in September and up 5.3 percent from October 2013.
In the West sales sank 5.0 percent to an annual pace of 1.14 million, down from 1.20 million the month before and sales are still down 3.4 percent on a yearly basis.
Sales Price by Region
The median price fell in half of U.S. in October and rose in the other half. The Northeast median inched up to $246,900 from $246,500 in September, but it was up 1.2 percent from the year before.
In the Midwest, the median price slipped to $164,100 in October, down from $165,400 in September. The price was still up 6.8 percent from the previous year however.
The price in the South declined to $178,000, down from $180,500 in September but it was up 5.1 percent from October 2013.
In the West, the median price rose to $296,800, up from September’s $294,500, and the new price is 5.0 percent above the year-ago level.
The total number of existing-homes on the market by the end of October declined 2.6 percent to 2.22 million properties. At the current sales pace, that represents a 5.1-month supply, a seven-month low. Still inventory is up 5.2 percent from a year ago when there were only 2.11 million homes for sale. Realtors consider the market to be balanced between supply and demand when there is a 6-month supply.
Data for November existing home sales, prices, and inventory will be available at the end of December.