Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.5% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million. This annual rate is 2.5% higher than the 5.13 million-unit level in October 2013.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market this year has been a tale of two halves. “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,” he said. “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 growth in housing supply this year will likely prevent the drastic sales slowdown and coinciding spike in home prices we saw last winter due to low inventory,” says Yun. “However, more housing starts are needed to increase supply, meet current demand and keep price growth in check.”
The existing home sales rate in 3 of the 4 U.S. regions in September:
- Northeast: 0.71 million from 0.69 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.24 million from 1.18 million month prior.
- South: 2.17 million from 2.11 million month prior.
- West: 1.14 million from 1.20 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 2.6% to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 5.1 month supply at the current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 5.2% above a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.
The median time on market for all homes was 63 days in October. That is up from 56 days in September. Short sales were on the market for a median of 150 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 68 days, and non-distressed homes took 61 days. 33% of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $208,300, up 5.5% from a year ago.