Existing-Home Sales Dipped in November

Existing-home sales declined for the tenth month in a row in November, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All four major U.S. regions recorded month-over-month and year-over-year declines.

Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops – waned 7.7 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million in November. Year-over-year, sales dwindled by 35.4 percent (down from 6.33 million in November 2021).

“In essence, the residential real estate market was frozen in November, resembling the sales activity seen during the COVID-19 economic lockdowns in 2020,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR. “The principal factor was the rapid increase in mortgage rates, which hurt housing affordability and reduced incentives for homeowners to list their homes. Plus, available housing inventory remains near historic lows.”

Total housing inventory registered at the end of November was 1.14 million units, which was down 6.6 percent from October, but up 2.7 percent from one year ago (1.11 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which was identical to October, but up from 2.1 months in November 2021.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $370,700, an increase of 3.5 percent from November 2021 ($358,200), as prices rose in all regions. This marks 129 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

Properties typically remained on the market for 24 days in November, up from 21 days in October and 18 days in November 2021. Sixty-one percent of homes sold in November 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 28 percent of sales in November, which was unchanged from October, but up from 26 percent in November 2021. NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released last month – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26 percent, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.

All-cash sales accounted for 26 percent of transactions in November – identical to October and up from 24 percent in November 2021.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in November, down from 16 percent in October and 15 percent in November 2021.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.31 percent as of December 15. That’s down from 6.33 percent last week, but up from 3.12 percent one year ago.

“The market may be thawing since mortgage rates have fallen for five straight weeks,” Yun added. “The average monthly mortgage payment is now almost $200 less than it was several weeks ago when interest rates reached their peak for this year.”

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