Existing-Home Sales Forge Ahead in November
Fast Fact: At an annual rate of 5.61 million in November, existing-homes sales are now the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million) and are 15.4 percent higher than a year ago (4.86 million).
A big surge in the Northeast and a smaller gain in the South have pushed existing-home sales up in November for the third consecutive month. Nationwide, total existing-home sales rose 0.7 percent.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it’s been an outstanding three-month stretch for the housing market as 2016 nears the finish line.
“The healthiest job market since the Great Recession and the anticipation of some buyers to close on a home before mortgage rates accurately rose from their historically low level have combined to drive sales higher in recent months,” Yun said. “Furthermore, it’s no coincidence that home shoppers in the Northeast — where price growth has been tame all year — had the most success last month.”
Total housing inventory at the end of November dropped to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.3 percent lower than a year ago (2.04 million).
“Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017,” added Yun. “Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $234,900, up 6.8 percent from last November ($220,000). November’s price increase marks the 57th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Tips to Help You Find a Home in a Low-Inventory Market
Follow the inventory: Inventory varies by location, property type and price range. You will have more to choose from, and probably get more bang for your buck if you search for a house in an area with more availability.
Look for homes investors avoid: Investors tend to steer clear of homes that cannot be flipped or rented, such as those in gated communities. Some of these communities let investors get away with flipping and renting when the market was hurting, but with the housing market recovery, homeowner associations are cracking down on investor activity.
Don’t forget “expired” and “canceled” listings: Many people try to sell their house by listing it on an MLS—but fail to complete a sale. Those listings become “expired” or “canceled.” Have a REALTOR® assist you in finding a home that is not currently on the market.
Seasonal patterns can favor buyers: Remember there are clear seasonal patterns for housing inventory. Identifying these patterns with a REALTOR® in your area can open up more opportunity for a great home purchase.