U.S. Existing Home Sales Pull Back After Spiking For Five Straight Months

After reporting sharp increases in U.S. existing home sales for five consecutive months, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Tuesday showing existing home sales pulled back in the month of November.

NAR said existing home sales tumbled by 2.5 percent to an annual rate of 6.69 million in November after jumping by 4.4 percent to a revised rate of 6.86 million in October.

Economists had expected existing home sales to slump by 2.2 percent to a rate of 6.70 million from the 6.85 million originally reported for the previous month.

“Home sales in November took a marginal step back, but sales for all of 2020 are already on pace to surpass last year’s levels,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s amazing that the housing sector is outperforming expectations.”

Despite the monthly decrease, existing home sales in November were up by 25.8 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

The report said the median existing home price for all housing types was $310,800 in November, down 0.7 percent from $313.100 in October but up 14.6 percent from $271,300 in November of 2019.

Housing inventory totaled 1.28 million units at the end of November, down 9.9 percent from 1.42 million at the end of October and down 22.0 percent from 1.64 million a year ago.

The unsold inventory represents an all-time low of 2.3 months of supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.5 months in October and down from 3.7 months in November of 2019.

NAR also said single-family home sales slumped by 2.4 percent to a rate of 5.98 million, while existing condominium and co-cop sales tumbled by 2.7 percent to 710,000.

“Circumstances are far from being back to the pre-pandemic normal,” Yun said. “However, the latest stimulus package and with the vaccine distribution underway, and a very strong demand for homeownership still prevalent, robust growth is forthcoming for 2021.”

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department is schedule to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of November.

Economists expect new home sales to dip by 0.3 percent in November, matching the modest decrease seen in October.

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