By Peter Ricci
There was nothing but good tidings and cheer in the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) existing-home sales report for November, which found existing-home sales to have increased 5.9 percent from October to November and 14.5 percent from November 2011.
At an annual rate of 5.04 million, existing-home sales are now at their highest rate in three years, having defied both the seasonal slowdown of homebuying in autumn and the negative effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Existing-Home Sales Give Realtors Everywhere a Christmas Present
In addition to the overall sales data, NAR’s existing-home sales report was also filled with a number of delightful stocking stuffers:
- Median existing-home sale price for all housing types rose 10.1 percent in November from last year, which marks the ninth straight month of year-over-year price increases; the last time such a streak occurred was from September 2005 to May 2006.
- More specifically, single-family home sales were up 5.5 percent monthly and 12.4 percent yearly, and median sale price was up 10.1 percent, while existing condo and co-op sales increased 9.1 percent monthly and 33.3 percent yearly, with median price jumping 10.6 percent.
- The housing inventory situation, one we’ve been following closely, continue to show improvement. Total housing inventory declined 3.8 percent from October to November, ending the month with a 4.8-month supply, the lowest since September 2005 (and no doubt a stat that will improve once the spring homebuyer season kicks in to gear). Also, distressed homes comprised a smaller share of existing-home sales, accounting for 22 percent of November sales; that’s down from 29 percent a year ago, and NAR anticipates its share falling further in 2013.
- Median time on the market has also taken significant strides, declining from 98 days in November 2011 to 70 days last month, a 28.6 percent decline; 32 percent of the existing-home sales in November were on the market for less than a month, which is consistent from October.
South Existing-Home Sales Outpacing Nation
In the South, existing-home sales performed even better than the national average, increasing 7.9 percent month-to-month and 17.2 percent year-over-year, with the median price up 10.5 percent from last year.
Ofelia McDonald, an agent with John Daugherty in Houston, said her business in Houston absolutely mimics the national trends, if not surpasses it every way. Between the high volume of activity from prospective homebuyers, the large number of listings, the numerous contracts being written and the 20-plus people that attend her open houses, McDonald said she’s certainly keeping busy.
“Especially during the holidays, it’s been very, very busy,” McDonald said.