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Status Update: Existing Home Sales

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its Existing Home Sales report—discovering that October 2017 reported the strongest pace since June, but low supply continues to lead to fewer closings on an annual basis for the second month in a row.

Amidst the ongoing narrative of supply shortages, the report found that total existing-home sales increased by 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in October from 5.37 million in September.

According to NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, this slight increase is attributed to job growth, which in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages—giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home.

"While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year-ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated,” Yun said.

Although the impact on housing from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still experienced in parts of Texas and Florida, Yun forecasts that sales should rebound.

"The residual effects on sales from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still seen in parts of Texas and Florida,” Yun added. “However, sales should completely bounce back to their pre-storm levels by the end of the year, as demand for buying in these areas was very strong before the storms."

The report notes that the median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $247,000—representing a 5.5 percent increase from last year at $234,100. In addition, this price increase for October marks the 68th straight month of year-over-year gains, according to NAR.

At the end of October, totally housing inventory decreased 3.2 percent to 1.80 million existing homes for sale, and is now “10.4 percent lower than a year ago at 2.01 million, and has fallen year-over-year for 29 consecutive months.”

Meanwhile, the report notes that unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace—a decline from 4.4 months a year ago.

"Listings—especially those in the affordable price range—continue to go under contract typically a week faster than a year ago, and even quicker in many areas where healthy job markets are driving sustained demand for buying," said Yun. "With the seasonal decline in inventory beginning to occur in most markets, prospective buyers will likely continue to see competitive conditions through the winter."

To view the full report, click here.


About Author: Nicole Casperson

Nicole Casperson is the Associate Editor of DS News and MReport. She graduated from Texas Tech University where she received her M.A. in Mass Communications and her B.A. in Journalism. Casperson previously worked as a graduate teaching instructor at Texas Tech's College of Media and Communications. To contact Casperson, e-mail: nicole.casperson@thefivestar.com.

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