Income growth and rising home inventory levels helped push house sales up in October compared to last year, marking the first major increase year-to-date, according to a report. National brokerage Redfin reported a 2.2 percent increase in the number of homes sold in October compared to the same month last year, making it the first month to see a significant yearly increase in home sales so far in 2014. According to the company, a total of 128 thousand homes sold last month across all of its covered markets. Redfin's data reinforces recent findings from the National Association of Realtors, which estimated the rate of October home sales was up 2.5 percent from last year.
Looking at the top markets with the strongest sales growth, Redfin says wage growth has played a significant role in October’s sales figures. Among the top five metro areas for annual sales gains, median incomes increased in four, according to the company, with improvements ranging from 0.7 percent in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, to as high as 5.7 percent in Boulder, Colorado. The one exception was Orlando, which remains popular for investors, the company said. On the other hand, in the five markets with the biggest year declines in sales activity, median incomes fell or were flat in nearly all.
Home price growth ticked down further in September, slipping below 5 percent as the once-hottest parts of the country reported diminishing returns. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices grew 4.8 percent annually at the national level in September, according to the latest update from S&P Dow Jones Indices. September's growth rate compares to a gain of 5.1 percent in August. On a monthly basis, the National Index was down a tenth of a percent from August, the first decline in 12 months. As prices continue to slow, analysts hope the trend signals the start of a more stable recovery based on improving market fundamentals.