Sales of existing-homes rose by 1.5% in October according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Last October previously-owned homes reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen for a long time.
This numbers also represents the first yearly gain since October 2013. The median existing-home prices posted as well an increase compared to October 2013. From the previous year, October’s median price of $208,300 was up 5.5%, marking the 32nd straight month of yearly improvement.
The National Association of Realtors tracks completed transactions of single family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops each month, dubbing this group “existing-home sales.” As the housing market crashed back in 2008, NAR also began tracking the share of home sales that were distressed (foreclosures and short sales).
In October distressed home sales declined to 9% of the total, hitting the single digits for the third month in 2014. One year ago, distressed sales accounted for 14% of the market. Foreclosures account for 7%, and short sales 2% total average. The share of homes purchased for all-cash buyers in October accounted for 27%, compared to a 31% in October 2013.
First-time buyers remain a smaller slice of the market than the historic norm, at 29% in October for the fourth straight month. First-time buyers have represented less than 30% of the buyer pool in 18 of the past 19 months.
Inventory levels declined by 2.6% in October to a supply of 2.22 million existing-homes available for sale the lowest level since March, but 5.2% higher than a year ago, when there were only 2.11 million existing-homes for sale.
We still need an increment on housing inventory. However, Government-sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac has projected a 20% gain for inventory between 2014 and 2015, which will help supply. Let’s make it happen.