November Sales Maintain Uptrend

November
Existing-Home Sales and Prices Maintain Uptrend
WASHINGTON
(December 20, 2012) – Existing-home sales continued to improve in November with
low inventory supply pressuring home prices, according to the National Association
of Realtors®.
Total existing-home
sales
, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes,
condominiums and co-ops, rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate
of 5.04 million in November from a downwardly revised 4.76 million in October,
and are 14.5 percent higher than the 4.40 million-unit pace in November 2011.
Sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the annual pace spiked
at 5.44 million.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief
economist, said there is healthy market demand. “Momentum continues to
build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household
formation,” he said. “With lower rental vacancy rates and rising
rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions,
more people are buying homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show
storm-related disruptions but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset
by gains in unaffected areas.”
The national
median existing-home price for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up
10.1 percent from November 2011. This is the ninth consecutive monthly
year-over-year price gain, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.
Distressed
homes – foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 22
percent of November sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were
short sales), down from 24 percent in October and 29 percent in November 2011.
Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in
November, while short sales were discounted 16 percent.
“The
market share of distressed property sales will fall into the teens next year
based on a diminishing number of seriously delinquent mortgages,” Yun
said.
Total housing
inventory at the end of November fell 3.8 percent to 2.03 million existing
homes available for sale, which represents a 4.8-month supply at the current
sales pace; it was 5.3 months in October, and is the lowest housing supply
since September of 2005 when it was 4.6 months.
Listed
inventory is 22.5 percent below a year ago when there was a 7.1-month supply.
Raw unsold inventory is now at the lowest level since December 2001 when there
were 1.89 million homes on the market.
According to
Freddie Mac, the national
average commitment rate
for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage
fell to a record low 3.35 percent in November from 3.38 percent in October; the
rate was 3.99 percent in November 2011.
NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of
Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said there’s been speculation of a rise
in short sales before the end of the year with pending expiration of the
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. “However, there’s been no movement
in short sales, their market share is staying in a narrow range, and they’re
still taking much longer to sell – typically three months,” he said.
“The fact
remains it is extremely difficult to expedite a short sale, and banks’ response
to client urgency is only starting to improve. However, we’re hopeful that the
act will be extended before it expires on December 31 so sellers don’t have to
pay taxes on forgiven mortgage debt, which would be unfairly treated as income
for owners who are selling under duress,” Thomas said.
The median time
on market for all homes was 70 days in November, slightly below 71 days in
October, but is 28.6 percent below 98 days in November 2011. Thirty-two percent
of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month, while 20
percent were on the market for six months or longer; these findings are
unchanged from October.
First-time
buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in November, down from 31 percent
in October and 35 percent in November 2011.
All-cash sales were
at 30 percent of transactions in November, up slightly from 29 percent in
October and 28 percent in November 2011. Investors, who account for most cash
sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in November, little changed from 20
percent in October; they were 19 percent in November 2011.
Single-family
home sales rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44
million in November from 4.21 million in October, and are 12.4 percent higher
than the 3.95 million-unit level in November 2011. The median existing
single-family home price was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from a year
ago.
Existing
condominium and co-op sales jumped 9.1 percent to an annualized level of
600,000 in November from 550,000 in October, and are 33.3 percent above the 450,000-unit
pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000 in November,
which is 10.6 percent higher than November 2011.
Existing-home
sales in the West rose 0.8 percent a pace of 1.19 million in November and are
4.4 percent higher than a year ago. With ongoing inventory constraints, the
median price in the West was $248,300, which is 23.9 percent above November
2011.
Source:
NAR

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