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Home Sales, Inventory Weaken in November

key-and-graphAfter two straight months of annual increases, home sales reversed course in November among the country's major metropolitan markets.

Home sales last month were down 5.2 percent year-over-year in 53 of the country's biggest markets, RE/MAX [1] said this week in its latest National Housing Report. The drop, which the company said is normal for this time of the year, followed gains of 0.9 percent in September and 2.6 percent in October—the only two months so far this year to have seen year-over-year improvements.

Compared to October transactions, activity in November was down 22.5 percent, RE/MAX reported.

"As expected, sales cooled off in November and remained below the level we saw last year. But with prices rising moderately, this market appears to be recovering at a more sustainable rate," said RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger. "The story of the next cycle will be revealed as we move from winter into spring next year."

Ten metros surveyed in November posted higher sales than a year ago, led by a 10.1 percent increase in Tampa. Other top markets included Burlington, Vermont (7.9 percent); Orlando (7.3 percent); Nashville (6.4 percent); and Albuquerque (3.4 percent).

For all homes sold last month, the median sales price was $195,151, marking a 1.4 percent increase over October and a 6.1 percent increase over last year.

November was the 34th consecutive month to see the national median sales price climb year-over-year, RE/MAX said.

"Because inventory has generally moved in a positive direction this year, home prices are not rising as rapidly," the company said in its report. "In November 2013, prices were growing nearly twice as fast, at 11.8 percent year-over-year."

While inventory has trended upward for much of this year, supply was tighter in November, falling 9.2 percent year-on-year and 9.9 percent month-over-month.

However, due to slower sales, the months' supply of inventory still rose, hitting 5.6 from 4.9 in October. A six months' supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.