October existing-home sales up 1.9 percent
After September’s decline, October’s 1.9 percent increase in existing-home sales brought a welcome recovery. Up 4.6 percent from last year, October’s total-existing home sales were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist has an optimistic outlook on the months to come. “Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” said Yun. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.”
Up 6.2 percent from last year, the median-existing home price for all housing types was $270,900. Prices increased in all regions, marking the 92nd month of year-over-year gains. Though inventory remains down, with October’s total housing inventory reported at 1.77 million units—down approximately 2.7 percent from September and 4.3 percent from last year. Unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply, down from September’s 4.1-month supply and last year’s 4.3-month supply.
Increasing inventory to maintain favorable conditions
Yun continues to call for construction in an effort to maintain affordable housing options. “The issuance of more housing permits is a very positive sign and a good step toward more inventory” he says. “In order to better counter and even slow the increase in housing prices, home builders will have to bring additional homes on the market.”
In October, properties typically remained on the market for 36 days—up from 32 days in September but matching last year’s numbers with 46 percent of homes sold on the market for less than a month.
NAR President Vince Malta comments on the uptick in home sales. “It’s great to see home sales rise along with an increase in housing permits. Both home buyers and the home sellers are being rewarded by these developments, and we see that condition remain extremely favorable for real estate investment in America.”
Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, announces the following as the hottest metro areas for October:
- Fort Wayne, IN
- Pueblo, CO
- Columbus, OH
- Rochester, NY
- Colorado Springs, CO
The following were the only large metro areas reporting over a 1 percent growth on Realtor.com®’s active listings:
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington: 16 percent increase
- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise: 14 percent
- San Antonio-New Braunfels: 9 percent
- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn: 5 percent
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs: 5 percent
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood: 4 percent
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: 4 percent
- Myrtle-Beach-Conway: 4 percent
Mortgage rates were up slightly in October but had been at record-breaking lows from July – September. Freddie Mac reports 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.69 percent in October—up from September’s 3.61 percent. For reference, the average commitment rate across 2018 was 4.54 percent.
The numbers by region
Sales are up or unchanged from last year in all four regions, but down in comparison to last month in the Northeast and West.
October existing-home sales:
- Northeast: Down 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 690,000—unchanged from last year
- Midwest: Up 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million—up 2.4 percent from last year
- South: Up 4.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.35 million—up 7.8 percent from last year
- West: Down 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.13 million—up 3.7 percent from last year