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The Week Ahead: Tracking Existing Home Sales

pending home sales

The National Association of Realtors will release its Existing Home Sales Report [1]on Thursday, December 19, after it found that home sales rose 1.9% in October and overall sales increased 4.6% to 5.46 million. 

“Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings, and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.”

Median-existing home prices in October were up 6.2% annually in October to $270,900 and prices rose in all regions. October’s price increase marks 92 straight months of year-over-year gains. 

House inventory for the month was 1.77 million units—down nearly 2.7% from September and 4.3% from October 2018’s 1.85 million. Unsold inventory for October was at a 3.9-month supply, also a decline of 4.1 months last month and 4.3 months last year. 

“The issuance of more housing permits is a very positive sign and a good step toward more inventory,” said Yun. “In order to better counter and even slow the increase in housing prices, home builders will have to bring additional homes on the market.”

However, the report finds existing-home sales varied by region and half of the nation reported declines. 

Both the West and Northeast regions had declines in existing-home sales. The West had a month-over-month decline of 0.9%, during the same time median prices in the region rose 7.8% year-over-year. 

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 1.4% in October and were unchanged from last year. Home prices also increased by 2.4% from 2018.

The Midwest report an increase in existing-home sales of 1.6% and the South saw home sales rose 4.4%. 

Properties remained on the market for 36 days in October, which is a 4-day increase from September, but unchanged from October 2018. Forty-six percent of the homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month. 


Here's what else is happening in The Week Ahead:

Homebuilders Index (December 16) 

Census Bureau’s Housing Starts and Permits Report 

(December 17)