US existing-home sales fell 5.9% in October from September to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million; inventory of unsold homes fell for third straight month to 1,220,000, equal to 3.3 months of the monthly sales pace: NAR

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WASHINGTON , November 18, 2022 (press release) –

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales faded for the ninth month in a row to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million. Sales fell 5.9% from September and 28.4% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price rose to $379,100, an increase of 6.6% from the previous year.
  • The inventory of unsold existing homes slipped for the third consecutive month to 1.22 million at the end of October, or the equivalent of 3.3 months' supply at the current monthly sales pace.

​​​​​​​Existing-home sales retreated for the ninth straight month in October, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All four major U.S. regions registered month-over-month and year-over-year declines.

Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – decreased 5.9% from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in October. Year-over-year, sales dropped by 28.4% (down from 6.19 million in October 2021).

"More potential homebuyers were squeezed out from qualifying for a mortgage in October as mortgage rates climbed higher," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "The impact is greater in expensive areas of the country and in markets that witnessed significant home price gains in recent years."

Total housing inventory2 registered at the end of October was 1.22 million units, which was down 0.8% from both September and one year ago (1.23 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.1 months in September and 2.4 months in October 2021.

"Inventory levels are still tight, which is why some homes for sale are still receiving multiple offers," Yun added. "In October, 24% of homes received over the asking price. Conversely, homes sitting on the market for more than 120 days saw prices reduced by an average of 15.8%."

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in October was $379,100, a gain of 6.6% from October 2021 ($355,700), as prices rose in all regions. This marks 128 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in October, up from 19 days in September and 18 days in October 2021. Sixty-four percent of homes sold in October 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 28% of sales in October, down from 29% in both September 2022 and October 2021. NAR's 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released earlier this month4 – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26%, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.

All-cash sales accounted for 26% of transactions in October, up from 22% in September and 24% in October 2021.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in October, up from 15% in September, but down from 17% in October 2021.

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 1% of sales in October, down from 2% in September and identical to October 2021.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate(link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.90% in October, up from 6.11% in September. The average commitment rate across all of 2021 was 2.96%.

"Mortgage rates have come down since peaking in mid-November, so home sales may be close to reaching the bottom in the current housing cycle," Yun said.

Realtor.com®'s Market Trends Report(link is external) in October shows that the largest year-over-year median list price growth occurred in Milwaukee (+34.5%), Miami (+25.1%) and Kansas City (+21.4%). Phoenix reported the highest increase in the share of homes that had prices reduced compared to last year (+35.9 percentage points), followed by Austin (+31.2 percentage points) and Las Vegas (+24.4 percentage points).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.95 million in October, down 6.4% from 4.22 million in September and 28.2% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $384,900 in October, up 6.2% from October 2021.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 480,000 units in October, down 2.0% from September and 30.4% from the previous year. The median existing condo price was $331,000 in October, an annual increase of 10.1%.

"For consumers looking to buy or sell a home, having a REALTOR® by their side to navigate one of the more challenging and complex markets we've seen in some time will be essential to successfully completing transactions," said NAR President Kenny Parcell, a REALTOR® from Spanish Fork, Utah, and broker-owner of Equity Real Estate Utah. "REALTORS® understand local market conditions and provide timely and trusted advice, from listing to closing."

Regional Breakdown
Existing-home sales in the Northeast trailed off 6.6% from September to an annual rate of 570,000 in October, a decline of 23.0% from October 2021. The median price in the Northeast was $408,700, an increase of 8.0% from the previous year.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest retracted 5.3% from the previous month to an annual rate of 1,080,000 in October, falling 25.5% from the prior year. The median price in the Midwest was $274,500, up 5.9% from October 2021.

In the South, existing-home sales declined 4.8% in October from September to an annual rate of 1,980,000, a 27.2% decrease from this time last year. The median price in the South was $346,300, an increase of 8.0% from one year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West waned 9.1% from September to an annual rate of 800,000 in October, down 37.5% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $588,400, a 5.3% increase from October 2021.

The National Association of REALTORS® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

For local information, please contact the local association of REALTORS® for data from local multiple listing services (MLS). Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

NOTE: NAR's Pending Home Sales Index for October is scheduled for release on November 30, and Existing-Home Sales for November will be released on December 21. Release times are 10 a.m. Eastern.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR benchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau's series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 Total inventory and month's supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month's supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

3 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR's quarterly metro area price reports.

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR's REALTORS® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. The annual study only represents primary residence purchases, and does not include investor and vacation home buyers. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR's REALTORS® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

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