Ends a five-month slide

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales edged higher by 0.8% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.82 million, finishing a five-month drop. Sales retreated 7.3% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price rose 4% from November 2022 to $387,600 – the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
  • The inventory of unsold existing homes slid 1.7% from the previous month to 1.13 million at the end of November, or the equivalent of 3.5 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace.

Washington – Existing-home sales grew in November across the country, breaking a streak of five consecutive monthly declines, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Among the four major U.S. regions, sales climbed in the Midwest and South but receded in the Northeast and West. Existing-home sales in the South improved 4.7% from October to an annual rate of 1.77 million in November, a decline of 4.3% from the prior year. The median price in the South was $351,500, up 3.4% from last year.

All four regions experienced year-over-year sales decreases.

Total existing-home sales (completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) elevated 0.8% from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.82 million in November.

Year-over-year, sales fell 7.3% (down from 4.12 million in Nov. 2022).

“The latest weakness in existing home sales still reflects the buyer bidding process in most of October when mortgage rates were at a two-decade high before the actual closings in November,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “A marked turn can be expected as mortgage rates have plunged in recent weeks.”

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.95% as of Dec.14, falling below 7% for the first time since Aug. 10. That’s down from 7.03% the previous week but up from 6.31% one year ago.

Total housing inventory registered at the end of November was 1.13 million units, down 1.7% from October but up 0.9% from one year ago (1.12 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.6 months in October but up from 3.3 months in Nov. 2022.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $387,600, an increase of 4.0% from Nov. 2022 ($372,700). All four U.S. regions posted price increases.

“Home prices keep marching higher,” Yun added. “Only a dramatic rise in supply will dampen price appreciation.”

According to the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 25 days in November, up from 23 days in October and 24 days in Nov. 2022. Sixty-two percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in November, up from 28% in Oct. 2023 and Nov. 2022. NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released in November, found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 32%. All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in November, down from 29% in October but up from 26% in Nov. 2022.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 18% of homes in November, up from 15% in October and 14% one year ago. Distressed sales, foreclosures and short sales, represented 1% of sales in November, virtually unchanged from last month and the previous year.

Single-family home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.41 million in November, up 0.9% from 3.38 million in October but down 7.3% from the prior year. The median existing single-family home price was $392,100 in November, up 3.5% from November 2022.

Image by wirestock on Freepik.

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