sales rose 5.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04
units compared to a rate of 4.76 units in October. October's rate was a downward revision from
the 4.79 million originally reported.
November's sales were up 14.5 percent from the 4.40 million unit sales
pace in November 2011 and were the highest since November 2009 when the rate of
sales reached 5.44 million. Data on existing
home sales, which are completed transactions including single-family homes,
townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, was released this morning by the National
Association of Realtors® (NAR).
home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million compared
to 4.21 million in October, an increase of 5.5 percent, and are 12.4 percent
higher than in November 2011.
Condominium and co-op sales were up 9.1 percent to an annual rate of
600,000 in November, an increase of 50,000 month-over month and 33.3 percent
higher than the 450,000 unit pace of sales a year earlier.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist,
said there is healthy market demand. "Momentum continues to build in the
housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation," he
said. "With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with
still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying
homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show storm-related disruptions
but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset by gains in unaffected
Existing Home Sales
The median price of an existing home
rose $180,000 in November from the median price one year earlier becoming the
ninth consecutive month in which annual prices rose. The median price for a single family home was
$180,600, 10.1 percent higher than in November 2011 and the median existing
condo price was $181,000 representing a 10.6 percent annual increase.
median existing single-family home price was $180,600 in November, up 10.1
percent from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000, 10.6
percent higher than in November 2011.
Foreclosures accounted for 12
percent of home sales and short sales for 10 percent. The two types of distressed sales together
had a 24 percent market share in October and a 29 percent share in November
2011. Foreclosures sold for an average
discount of 20 percent below market value while short sales were discounted 16
percent. Yun is projecting that the market share of distressed properties will
fall into the teens next year as the numbers of seriously delinquent mortgages
NAR President Gary Thomas said
there's been speculation of a rise in short sales before the end of the year
with pending expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.
"However, there's been no movement in short sales, their market share is
staying in a narrow range, and they're still taking much longer to sell -
typically three months," he said.
"The fact remains it is extremely
difficult to expedite a short sale, and banks' response to client urgency is
only starting to improve," Thomas said. "However, we're hopeful that the
act will be extended before it expires on December 31 so sellers don't have to
pay taxes on forgiven mortgage debt, which would be unfairly treated as income
for owners who are selling under duress."
Total housing inventory at the end
of November fell 3.8 percent to 2.03 million existing homes available for sale,
a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace.
This is the lowest inventory since September of 2005 when it was 4.6
months. In October the inventory was 5.3 months and in November 2011 there was
a 7.1-month supply.
The median time on market for all
homes was 70 days in November, slightly below 71 days in October, but is 28.6
percent below 98 days in November 2011. Thirty-two percent of homes sold
in November were on the market for less than a month, while 20 percent were on the
market for six months or longer; these findings are unchanged from October.
First-time buyers accounted for 30
percent of purchases in November, down from 31 percent in October and 35
percent in November 2011 and investors accounted for 19 percent compared to 20
percent in October.
sales in the Northeast rose 6.9 percent to an annual rate of 620,000 in
November and are 14.8 percent above November 2011.
The median price in the Northeast was $232,900, down 2.0 percent from a year
the Midwest existing home sales increased 7.2 percent to a pace of 1.19 million
and are 21.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the
Midwest was $141,600, 7.0 percent above November 2011.
sales in the Southern region were up 7.9 percent to 2.04 million in November
and are 17.2 percent above November 2011. The median price in the South was $157,400, up 10.5 percent from
a year ago.
inventory constraints held back sales in the West to an increase of 0.8 percent
in November over October and a 4.4 percent increase since the previous
November. Sales were at a pace of 1.19
million. Those same constraints have driven the median price in the region to
$248,300, a 23.9 percent annual increase.