Existing home sales fell 3.4 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.36 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), down from a rate of 5.55 million in September. Existing home sales are now 3.9 percent higher than the year ago level.
Total housing inventory fell 2.3 percent to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale, 4.5 percent lower than a year ago. There was a 4.8 month supply of unsold inventory in October, up from 4.7 months in September. The median existing home price was $219,600, up 5.8 percent from October 2014.
“New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Furthermore, the mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales.”
The percent of first time homebuyers increased to 31 percent in October, up 2 points from both last month and a year ago.
Existing home sales decreased or remained the same in all four regions, falling 0.8 percent in the Midwest, 3.2 percent in the South, and 8.7 percent in the West. Home sales in the Northeast were essentially unchanged from last month.
Distressed sales fell a percentage point to 6 percent in October, the lowest level since 2008. Five percent of sales were foreclosures while one percent were short sales.
Read the NAR release.