Existing-Home Sales Rose 4.3% in October
Washington, DC, November 19, 2020-Total existing-home sales increased 4.3% from September to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. Overall, sales rose year-over-year, up 26.6% from a year ago (5.41 million in October 2019).
"Considering that we remain in a period of stubbornly high unemployment relative to pre-pandemic levels, the housing sector has performed remarkably well this year," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.
While coronavirus-induced shutdowns hindered virtually all markets, Yun says the housing industry has mounted an impressive rebound.
"The surge in sales in recent months has now offset the spring market losses," he said. "With news that a COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available, and with mortgage rates projected to hover around 3% in 2021, I expect the market's growth to continue into 2021." Yun forecasts existing-home sales to rise by 10% to 6 million in 2021.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $313,000, up 15.5% from October 2019 ($271,100), as prices increased in every region. October's national price increase marks 104 straight months of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of October totaled 1.42 million units, down 2.7% from September and down 19.8% from one year ago (1.77 million). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 2.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.7 months in September and down from the 3.9-month figure recorded in October 2019.
"Homebuilders' confidence has soared even though the actual production has not," Yun said. "All measures, such as reduction to lumber tariffs and expansion of vocational training, need to be considered to significantly boost supply and construct new housing."
Yun's call for an increase in newly built homes comes on the heels of NAR's quarterly Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Affordability report, which found that single-family existing-home prices rose in all of the 181 metropolitan areas NAR tracks. Sixty-five percent of those metros show double-digit price increases. Yun says replenishing the short supply of homes would help decelerate rising costs and improve market affordability.
Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in October, seasonally even with September and down from 36 days in October 2019. Seventy-two percent of homes sold in October 2020 were on the market for less than a month.