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Existing-Home Sales Rise for Second Consecutive Month

According to latest the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing-Home Sales Report, completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops in October 2021 rose a slight 0.8% over September’s totals to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million in. Existing-home sales fell 5.8% year-over-year, as 6.73 million sales were recorded in October 2020. October marked the second consecutive month of gains in existing-home sales.

"Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's Chief Economist. "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."

Inventory woes continue to concern prospective buyers, as the nation’s total housing supply at the end of October dropped to just 1.25 million units, down 0.8% from September, and down 12% year-over-year when it stood at 1.42 million in October 2020. 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.

"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," said Yun. "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."

And while the ability to work remotely propelled sales, the median-existing home price averaged $353,900 in October 2021, up 13.1% from October 2020’s average of $313,000, marking the 116th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.

Properties remained on the market for an average of 18 days in October, up just one day from the 17 recorded in September, and down three days from 21 recorded in October 2020. NAR noted that 82% of homes sold in October 2021 were on the market for less than a month.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 2.6% in October, registering an annual rate of 750,000, a 13.8% decline from October 2020. In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 4.2% to an annual rate of 1,500,000 in October, a 6.3% year-over-year decrease. Meanwhile, existing-home sales in the South increased just 0.4% in October, posting an annual rate of 2,780,000, a 3.5% drop from one year ago. Sales in the Western region remained level in October, registering an annual rate of 1,310,000, down 5.1% from one year ago.

“One year ago marked a peak of existing home sales activity as the combination of necessity and opportunity drove many Americans to search for housing at a time of year that does not typically see a frenzied level of buyers in the market,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Although existing-home sales have eased back from that peak, activity remains notably above recent annual totals, reflecting demand from a large number of young households at prime first-time home buying ages. With more workplace flexibility enabling home shoppers to broaden their search areas and potentially increase their chance of success, we continue to see historically high levels of existing home sales. Additionally, the sales pace could begin to pick up as still-eager buyers potentially see more newly listed homes, with the majority of prospective sellers planning to enter the market within the next six months.”

Click here to read more on NAR’s October 2021 Existing-Home Sales Report.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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