October home sales reach fastest pace in four months

 

Home sales don’t seem to be slowing down as October recorded the fastest pace of sales since June, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total home sales grew to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.48 million, up 2.0 percent from 5.37 million in September. Sales are at their strongest pace since June, which recorded 5.51 million, but are still 0.9 percent below last year’s total.

“Job growth in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said.

However, Yun notes that while the housing market is picking up the pace this fall, it still can’t keep up with 2016 numbers due to limited supply. Total housing inventory decreased 3.2 percent from September to 1.80 million. This is 10.4 percent lower than the 2.01 million homes available in October 2016.

Unsold inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply, which is down from 4.4 months last year. This is the 29th consecutive month of falling year-over-year inventory rates.

“While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year-ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated,” Yun said.

The median existing home price are up 5.5 percent from $234,100 in October 2016 to $247,000 in October 2017. This is the 68th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Properties stayed on the market for an average of 34 days in October, and 47 percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.

“Listings – especially those in the affordable price range – continue to go under contract typically a week faster than a year ago, and even quicker in many areas where healthy job markets are driving sustained demand for buying,” Yun said. “With the seasonal decline in inventory beginning to occur in most markets, prospective buyers will likely continue to see competitive conditions through the winter.”