According to the National Association of Realtors®, sales of existing homes in October rose for a second consecutive month, overtaking June's sales peak to become the swiftest annualized pace in almost ten years. Each major region saw monthly and annual sales growth in October.
Total existing-home sales (for single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops), increased 2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in October from 5.49 million in September. October's sales velocity is 5.9 percent higher than one year ago (5.29 million), eclipsing June's pace (5.57 million) to become the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million).
NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, indicated that the flurry of sales activity in the last two months represents a marked uptick 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," Yun said. The economist added, "Buyers are having more success lately despite low inventory and prices that continue to swiftly rise above incomes."
Housing Data Takeaways
Nationally, October's median existing-home price for all housing types was $232,200, an increase of 6% over October 2015 ($219,100). October's price increase represents the 56th straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory by the end of October fell 0.5% to 2.02 million existing homes available for sale, and now sits 4.3% lower than one year ago (2.11 million), and has dropped year-over-year for 17 consecutive months.
Freddie Mac data shows that the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage moved up slightly in October for the second month in a row, to 3.47% versus 3.46% in September. The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.
First-time buyers generated 33% of sales nationally in October, down from September's 34% but up from 31% a year ago.
- Distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) grew slightly to 5% in October, up from 4% in September and down from 6% one year ago.