USA existing home sales inch higher in October

Lloyd Doyle
November 21, 2017

Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 3.2% to 1.8 million existing homes available for sale and is now 10.4% lower than a year ago and has fallen year on year for 29 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said sales activity in October picked up for the second straight month, with increases in all four major regions.

A report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows almost 7,300 homes were sold statewide in October, a nearly five percent increase compared to the same month past year.

The percentage of first-time buyers rose from 29% in September to 32%, and down from 33% in October 2016.

"Low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated", Yun said.

Areas in Texas and Florida damaged by late-summer back-to-back hurricanes are still seeing depressed sales but should bounce back to pre-storm levels by the end of 2017, he added.

The median price for existing homes for all housing types in October was $247,000, up 5.5% from October 2016 when it was $234,100.


Single-family home sales, the largest share of the new home market, climbed 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million in October from 4.77 million in September, but are still 1% below the 4.92 million pace a year ago.

Analysts say the current economic recovery, which has seen seven years of uninterrupted job creation and low interest rates, has produced strong demand for houses.

"Existing home sales were only modestly above our expectation, implying some additional boost to brokers' commissions in the quarter". In September the national median price was $245,100.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales inched forward 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in October, but are still 1.5 percent below a year ago.

And homes were on the market for just 34 days, down from 41 a year ago.

A breakdown of the figures show that sales in the Northeast rose 4.2% with a median price of $272,800 which is 6.6% above October 2016 while in the Midwest they increased 0.8% with prices up 7.1% to $194,700. The median price in the Northeast was $272,800, up 6.6% compared with October of a year ago. Sales in the West grew 2.4% and are now 0.8% above a year ago. Both single family and condos/co-ops recorded rises, with single family sales growing 2.1 percent sequentially to 4.87 million and condos/co-ops rising 1.7 percent to 610k. The median price of a home sold last month was $175,000, up from $165,000.

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