Existing Home Sales Up 12% For November
Existing-home sales are on the rise again in November, up 4% to an annual rate of 4.42 million. This pace is 12.2% above the 3.94 million-unit pace in November 2010.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more people are taking advantage of the buyer’s market. “Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010 – a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing,” he said. “We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans.”
Mortgage rates have hit new record lows, falling to 3.99% in November, down from 4.07% the previous month. These low rates are helping push home sales up, as buyers are finally reacting to these uncharacteristically low rates and low selling prices.
Although conditions are ideal for buyers, contract failures remain high, up at 33% in November, which is much higher than the 9% last year. It seems buyers are still restricted by the strict credit and mortgage rules in effect.
Housing inventory was down 5.8% at the end of November to 2.58 million existing homes or a 7.0-month supply. This is down from a 7.7-month supply in October.
The national median existing-home price was $164,200 in November, down 3.5% from November 2010. Distressed homes were up 1% from October to 29% of sales in November. All-cash sales remain steady at 28%, down 1% from the previous month while investors account for 19% percent of homes purchased in November. First-time buyers were 35%. Single-family home sales were at an annualized pace of 3.95 million, up 4.5% from the previous month. Existing condominium and co-op sales saw no monthly change, but are 6.8% higher than last year’s pace.
All regions saw increased sales. The Northeast experienced strong sales, with a 9.8% increase month-over-month while the Midwest rose 4.3%. The West also increased, up 3.5%, and the South saw a 2.4% gain in November.
Source: National Association of Realtors