Existing-home sales (including condos and co-ops) were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.60 million as of the end of October – an increase of 2.0% compared with an upwardly revised pace of about 5.49 million in September and an increase of 5.9% compared with about 5.29 million in October 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
It was the second straight month that existing-home sales increased. It was also the highest pace since February 2007, when existing-home sales were at a rate of about 5.79 million.
All major regions saw monthly and annual sales increases in October. Sales in the Northeast climbed 1.4% compared with September and increased 2.9% compared with October 2015. Sales in the Midwest grew 2.3% month over month and grew 5.8% compared with a year ago. Sales in the South increased 2.8% compared with September and increased 4.7% compared with October 2015. Sales in the West increased 0.8% month over month and increased 10.4% compared with a year earlier.
Single-family home sales (excluding condos and co-ops) increased 2.3% compared with September and increased 6.6% compared with a year ago.
The median price for all housing types (including condos and co-ops) in October was $232,200, up 6.0% from October 2015.
It was the 56th consecutive month that the average U.S. home price increased on a year-over-year basis.
The median price for a single-family home was $233,700, up 5.9% from October 2015.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the wave of sales activity in the last two months represents a convincing autumn revival for the housing market.
“October’s strong sales gain was widespread throughout the country and can be attributed to the release of the unrealized pent-up demand that held back many would-be buyers over the summer because of tight supply,” he says in a release. “Buyers are having more success lately despite low inventory and prices that continue to swiftly rise above incomes.
“The good news is that the tightening labor market is beginning to push up wages and the economy has lately shown signs of greater expansion,” Yun adds. “These two factors and low mortgage rates have kept buyer interest at an elevated level so far this fall.”
As of the end of October, there were about 2.02 million existing homes available for sale – about a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace. This is a decrease of 0.5% compared with September and a decrease of 4.3% compared with a year ago.
First-time buyers were 33% of sales in October – down from 34% in September but up from 31% a year earlier.
All-cash sales were 22% of transactions – up from 21% in September but down from 24% a year ago.
Distressed sales (including condos and co-ops) represented about 5% of all existing-home sales in October – up from 4% in September but down from 6% a year ago.