Existing-Home Sales Up 0.8% in October

Existing-home sales rose in October for the second month straight, though sales year-over-year (YOY) dropped, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of existing homes rose 0.8% from September to October, at a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.34 million. However, sales fell 5.8% YOY, down from 6.73 million in October 2020.

“Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

Though sales were down compared to the same time last year, prices were up: the median price for an existing home was $353,900, up 13.1% from October 2020. Prices rose in each region, marking the 116 straight months of increases, the longest streak on record.

October’s total housing inventory was 1.25 million units, down 0.8% from September and 12% YOY. The current supply of unsold inventory is at a 2.4-month supply at the current sales pace, the same at September but down from 2.5 months YOY.

“Among some of the workforce, there is an ongoing trend of flexibility to work anywhere, and this has contributed to an increase in sales in some parts of the country,” said Yun.

“Record-high stock markets and all-time high home prices have worked to significantly raise total consumer wealth and, when coupled with extended remote work flexibility, elevated housing demand in vacation regions.”

Homebuyer demand is up, defying seasonal slowdowns that usually accompany the holidays and colder weather. Redfin’s Homebuyer Demand Index reached an all-time high since at least 2017 and showed the market speeding up, with an increasing number of homes selling in two weeks or less.

Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 6% from September to October, putting MBA’s estimate of new home sales at its strongest pace since January 2021.