Sales of previously occupied homes in the United States increased for the third consecutive month in November, reflecting strong demand, low mortgage rates and intense competition for a relatively small number of properties on the market.
Existing home sales rose 1.9% last month from October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million units, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday. It’s the fastest pace since January, but lower than the 6.51 million units economists were expecting, according to FactSet.
Sales fell 2% from November last year, when they jumped as buyers who had held back during the early days of the pandemic returned to the market. In the first 11 months of this year, home sales in the United States are up 10% from the same period of 2020.
“2021 has been a very strong year,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR.
Continued job growth, a stock market near all-time highs, rising rents and expectations that mortgage rates will rise next year have boosted home sales, Yun said.
The housing market strengthened during the pandemic as many Americans switched to working from home, which put additional living space at a premium. The surge in demand led to fierce competition and sharply rising prices.
The national median home price jumped to $ 353,900 last month, a 13.9% increase from November of last year, the NAR reported. The large increase is in part due to the fact that more expensive homes represent a larger share of all homes sold, Yun noted.
As prices continue to climb, many potential buyers, especially first-time buyers, are being shut out of the historically low mortgage rates market.
First-time buyers accounted for only 26% of all sales last month, corresponding to a previous low recorded in January 2014. These buyers represented 32% of sales in November 2020.
“First-time buyers are really struggling to enter the market,” Yun said.
The Americans continued to take over the houses within days of their listing. Homes typically stayed on the market 18 days before being sold last month, similar to October but down from 21 days in November 2020. In a more balanced market between buyers and sellers, homes typically stay on the market. 45 day market. In total, 83% of homes sold last month had been on the market for less than a month.
At the end of November, the stock of unsold homes stood at just 1.11 million homes for sale, down 9.8% from October and 13% from a year ago. At the current pace of sales, that equates to a 2.1-month supply, the NAR said.