5 Latest Stats to Gauge Heat of the Market

November 25, 2014 | Comments Off on 5 Latest Stats to Gauge Heat of the Market


For the second consecutive month, existing-home sales were on the rise in October, now above year-over-year levels for the first time in 12 months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report.

Existing-home sales rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million in October. Sales now are at their highest annual pace since September 2013.

View NAR’s full EHS infographic

“Buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory, and stabilizing price growth,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Furthermore, the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases.”

Here’s an overview of some of the latest key housing indicators from NAR’s existing-home sales report, reflecting October data:

1. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300—5.5 percent above October 2013. It marks the 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

2. Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of October dropped 2.6 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace—the lowest since March. Unsold inventory is now 5.2 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.

“The growth in housing supply this year will likely prevent the drastic sales slowdown and coinciding spike in home prices we saw last winter due to low inventory,” Yun says. “However, more housing starts are needed to increase supply, meet current demand and keep price growth in check.”

3. Days on the market: Properties, on average, remained on the market longer in October—63 days compared to last month’s 56 days and a year ago at 54 days. However, 33 percent of homes sold last month were on the market for less than a month. But distressed sales tended to have some of the longest market times. Short sales lingered on the market for a median of 150 days, while foreclosures sold, on average, in 68.

4. All-cash sales: These comprised 27 percent of transactions in October, down from 31 percent in October 2013. Individual investors tended to account for the largest bulk of cash sales and purchased 15 percent of homes in October, which is down from their 19 percent share in October 2013.

5. Distressed homes: Reflecting foreclosures and short sales, distressed home sales fell in the single-digits for the third month this year. Distressed sales dropped to 9 percent in October, compared to 14 percent a year ago. Broken out, 7 percent of October sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures typically sold for a discount of 15 percent below market value while short sales were discounted by an average of 10 percent.

“Although distressed sales are trending downward, there are still areas [such as judicial states Florida, Maryland and New York] plagued by foreclosures, and home owners faced with the awful choice between a tax bill they are unable to pay and losing their home,” says NAR President Chris Polychron.

Snapshot by Region

Here’s a look at how existing-home sales fared across the country in October.

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales rose 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 710,000, and are 4.4 percent above a year ago. Median price: $246,900, a 1.2 percent increase over a year ago.
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales increased 5.1 percent to an annual level of 1.24 million in October, and are 2.5 percent higher than October 2013. Median price: $164,100, up 6.8 percent from a year ago.
  • South: Existing-home sales climbed 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.17 million in October, and are now 5.3 percent above October 2013. Median price: $178,000, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Existing-home sales fell 5 percent to an annual rate of 1.14 million in October, and are 3.4 percent below a year ago. Median price: $296,800, up 5 percent from a year ago.

Source: “Existing-Home Sales Rise in October, First Year-over-Year Increase Since October 2013,” National Association of REALTORS® (Nov. 20, 2014)


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