Home/Mortgages/Three Additional Selling Days Push Housing Transactions Higher in October

November 28, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Despite an ever shrinking pool of homes for sale, more Americans bought homes in October than did in September with the help of three additional selling days according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), but monthly home values continued to shrink .

Monthly existing home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.75 million transactions in October, up from 4.69 million in September, a gain of 2.1 percent. Compared to October of last year, sales were 10.9 percent higher than the 4.32 million seasonally adjusted transactions. It was the 16th consecutive month that year-over-year home sales have increased.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR, stated, “Home sales continue to trend up and most October transactions were completed by the time the storm hit, but the growing demand with limited inventory is pressuring home prices in much of the country. We expect an impact on Northeastern home sales in the coming months from a pause and delays in storm-impacted regions.”

Regional Home Sales:

Monthly existing home sales in the Northeast declined by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 580,000 transactions but were still113.7 percent higher than in October of last year, while in the Midwest, sales were 1.8 percent higher than the previous month, selling at a rate of 1.11 million annual sales, and were 18.1 percent higher than last year’s sales pace.

In the South, monthly existing home sales increased 2.1 percent in October to an annual pace of 1.92 million transactions and were 11.0 percent above October 2011’s levels, and in the West, transactions improved by 4.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million sales and were 3.5 percent above last year’s sales pace.

Home Prices:

Monthly home prices followed seasonal patterns and declined by 2.9 percent as the national median existing home price fell from $183,900 in September to $178,600 in October. The median home price in October was 11.1 percent higher than in the same month last year, the eighth consecutive month that home prices have surpassed the previous year’s levels.

The median price in the Northeast was $232,600, which was 4.6 percent higher than a year ago but down from $238,700 last month, while the median price in the Midwest was $145,600, up 10.6 percent from October of 2011 and up slightly from $145,200 the previous month.

In the South, the median price was $152,200, a gain of 8.2 percent from a year ago but down from $163,600 last month, and in the West, the median price was $242,100, up 21.2 percent from October of 2011 but down from $246,300 the previous month.

Cash and Distressed Property Sales:

Distressed property sales held steady at 24 percent of all existing home sales in October, unchanged from September but down from 28 percent in October of 2011. Foreclosure sales made up 12 percent of all existing home sales while short sales also accounted for 12 percent of all existing sales.

Cash sales accounted for 29 percent of all sales in October, up from 28 in September, while investors purchased 20 percent of the homes sold in October, up from 18 percent in September.

Housing Inventory:

The number of homes available for sale in October declined 1.4 percent to 2.14 million homes which leaves a 5.6 month supply, down from a 5.9 months supply in September. The number of homes listed for sale in October was 21.9 percent lower than last year.

Tags: existing home sales, investors, distressed property sales, declining prices, low appraisals, cancelled contracts, median home price