Home sales progress report

Although mortgage rates remain below 4%, existing-home sales in October were off as compared with September’s surge according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions of the U.S. did not report gains in existing-home sales in October.

All existing-home sales (all types) decreased 3.4% in October. Despite this dip, home sales were almost 4% higher than a year ago. This was understandable given the drop off of contract signings during the last 60 days. This is attributed to the limited existing-supply of homes and affordability concern in some markets. The mixed indicators regarding the strength of the economy, the volatility of the financial markets may also had an adverse effect on home sales.

The creation of jobs and easing credit policies combined with low interest rates should help most housing markets across the country. The median home price was almost 6% above a year ago. This increase is the 44th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Housing inventory, however, decreased 2.3% in October and is below levels of year ago. Homes available for sale is at a 4.8 month supply at the current sales rate.

First-time buyers accounted for 31% in October. This was up from 29% the prior month. Cash sales were approximately a quarter of transactions in October, about the same as the prior month, but are down from 27% from last year. Individual investors are down about 3% (24% versus 27%) from a year ago. Investors paying cash constituted 62% of all investors in October.

Foreclosures and short sales (distressed sales) decreased 6% in October which is the lowest since the National Association of Realtors began tracking them seven years ago. In October, five% of October sales were foreclosures and one% were short sales. Foreclosures sold for 18% below market value while short sales were discounted 8% in October as compared to 17% and 19% respectively in the month prior.

Properties were on the market in 57 days in October which is an increase from 49 days in September, but below the 63 days in October of last year. Short sales were on the market for a median of 90 days in October, while foreclosures were on the market for 67 days and non-distressed homes were on the market for 57 days. Approximately, one-third of homes sold in October were on the market for less than 30 days.

Single-family home sales decreased 3.7% in October as compared to September, but are 4.6% above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was up 6.3% from this time last year.

Existing condominium and co-op sales decreased 1.6% in October as compared to September and are down 1.6% from a year ago. The median existing condo price is 1.6% above a year ago.

Mary Ann Clark is a realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]

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