Existing-home sales rose in October for the second straight month and are now above year-over-year levels for the first time in a year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million in October from an upwardly-revised 5.18 million in September. Sales are at their highest annual pace since September 2013 (also 5.26 million) and are now above year-over-year levels (2.5 percent from last October) for the first time since last October.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist stated:
“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. 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 median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300, which is 5.5 percent above October 2013. This marks the 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 2.6 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace – the lowest since March (also 5.1 months). Unsold inventory is now 5.2 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.
All-cash sales were 27 percent of transactions in October, up from 24 percent in September but down from 31 percent in October of last year. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in October, up from 14 percent last month but below October 2013 (19 percent). Sixty-five percent of investors paid cash in October.
Existing-home sales in the South increased 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.17 million in October, and are now 5.3 percent above October 2013. The median price in the South was $178,000, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.