November Home Sales Down 10.5 Percent

Existing home sales fell 10.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million in November according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the lowest rate since April 2014. Existing home sales are now 3.8 percent below a year ago, the first year over year decline since September 2014. The NAR report suggests that November’s decline may be an anomaly as the industry adjusts to the new Know Before You Owe Rule.

“It’s possible the longer timeframes pushed a latter portion of would-be November transactions into December,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “As long as closing timeframes don’t rise even further, it’s likely more sales will register to this month’s total, and November’s large dip will be more of an outlier.”

Sales of existing homes dropped across all regions, falling 15.4 percent in the Midwest, 13.9 percent in the West, 9.2 percent in the Northeast, and 6.2 percent in the South.

Median home prices increased 6.3 percent to $220,300, up from $207,200 in November 2014, marking the 45th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Total housing inventories fell 3.3 percent at the end of November to 2.04 million existing homes.

“Sparse inventory and affordability issues continue to impede a large pool of buyers’ ability to buy, which is holding back sales. However, signed contracts have remained steady in recent months, and properties sold faster in November. Therefore it’s highly possible the stark sales decline wasn’t because of sudden, withering demand.”

Distressed sales rose 3 percentage points to 9 percent in November. Seven percent of November sales were foreclosures, and 2 percent were short sales.

Read the NAR release.