US existing-home sales rose 0.8% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.82 million; inventory of unsold homes decreased 1.7% to 1.13 million, equivalent to 3.5 months of the monthly sales pace: NAR

Sample article from our Housing & Economy

WASHINGTON , December 20, 2023 (press release) –

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales edged higher by 0.8% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.82 million, finishing a five-month drop. Sales retreated 7.3% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price rose 4.0% from November 2022 to $387,600 – the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
  • The inventory of unsold existing homes slid 1.7% from the previous month to 1.13 million at the end of November, or the equivalent of 3.5 months' supply at the current monthly sales pace.

​​​​​​​Existing-home sales grew in November, breaking a streak of five consecutive monthly declines, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Among the four major U.S. regions, sales climbed in the Midwest and South but receded in the Northeast and West. All four regions experienced year-over-year sales decreases.

Total existing-home sales1 – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – elevated 0.8% from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.82 million in November. Year-over-year, sales fell 7.3% (down from 4.12 million in November 2022).

"The latest weakness in existing home sales still reflects the buyer bidding process in most of October when mortgage rates were at a two-decade high before the actual closings in November," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "A marked turn can be expected as mortgage rates have plunged in recent weeks."

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage(link is external) averaged 6.95% as of December 14, falling below 7% for the first time since August 10. That's down from 7.03% the previous week but up from 6.31% one year ago.

Total housing inventory2 registered at the end of November was 1.13 million units, down 1.7% from October but up 0.9% from one year ago (1.12 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.6 months in October but up from 3.3 months in November 2022.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in November was $387,600, an increase of 4.0% from November 2022 ($372,700). All four U.S. regions posted price increases.

"Home prices keep marching higher," Yun added. "Only a dramatic rise in supply will dampen price appreciation."

REALTORS® Confidence Index
According to the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 25 days in November, up from 23 days in October and 24 days in November 2022. Sixty-two percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in November, up from 28% in October 2023 and November 2022. NAR's 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November4 – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 32%.

All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in November, down from 29% in October but up from 26% in November 2022.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 18% of homes in November, up from 15% in October and 14% one year ago.

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 1% of sales in November, virtually unchanged from last month and the previous year.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.41 million in November, up 0.9% from 3.38 million in October but down 7.3% from the prior year. The median existing single-family home price was $392,100 in November, up 3.5% from November 2022.

Existing condominium and co-op sales recorded a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 410,000 units in November, identical to October and down 6.8% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $350,100 in November, up 8.6% from the previous year ($322,400).

Regional Breakdown
Existing-home sales in the Northeast slipped 2.1% from October to an annual rate of 470,000 in November, down 13.0% from November 2022. The median price in the Northeast was $428,600, up 4.8% from the prior year.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 1.1% from the previous month to an annual rate of 940,000 in November, down 8.7% from one year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $280,800, up 4.9% from November 2022.

Existing-home sales in the South improved 4.7% from October to an annual rate of 1.77 million in November, a decline of 4.3% from the prior year. The median price in the South was $351,500, up 3.4% from last year.

In the West, existing-home sales slumped 7.2% from a month ago to an annual rate of 640,000 in November, down 8.6% from one year before. The median price in the West was $603,200, up 5.3% from November 2022.

"Agents who are REALTORS® deliver vital objective expertise, counsel and valuable information for consumers throughout the home buying and selling process," said NAR President Tracy Kasper, a REALTOR® from Nampa, Idaho, and broker-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty. "NAR members nationwide remain committed to placing their clients' interests first as they pursue the dream and benefits of homeownership."

About NAR
The National Association of REALTOR® 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. The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

# # #

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 November is scheduled for release on December 28, and Existing-Home Sales for December will be released on January 19, 2024. 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.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

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