Existing Home Sales Up Month-Over-Month but Decline Year-Over-Year in October

On Monday (11-22-21), The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported that total existing home sales (completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops) increased 0.8% month-over-month in October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.34 million homes. This marks the second consecutive month of growth. Two out of the four major reporting regions in the U.S. experienced month-over-month growth, while one reported a decline and the other was unchanged. Year-over-year, however, sales are down -5.8% (6.73 million in October 2020).

Total housing inventory at the end of October amounted to 1.25 million units, down -0.8% from September and down -12.0% from one year ago (1.42 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.4-month supply at the current sales pace — equal to September’s supply and down from 2.5 months in October 2020.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $353,900, up 13.1% from October 2020 ($313,000), as prices climbed in each region. This marks 116 straight months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

In a statement prepared for the release of October’s existing homes sales report, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said, “Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges. Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

“Among some of the workforce, there is an ongoing trend of flexibility to work anywhere, and this has contributed to an increase in sales in some parts of the country,” Yun added. “Record-high stock markets and all-time high home prices have worked to significantly raise total consumer wealth and, when coupled with extended remote work flexibility, elevated housing demand in vacation regions.”

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Existing-Home Sales Inch Up 0.8% in October