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Economy in Brief

U.S. Existing Home Sales & Prices Strengthen During October
by Tom Moeller  November 19, 2020

• Existing home sales reach highest level since February 2006.  

• Sales' strength is broad-based across regions.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes increased 4.3% (26.6% y/y) in October to 6.850 million from 6.570 million in September, revised from 6.540 million. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected October sales of 6.45 million. Data are compiled when existing home sales close.

Sales in all four regions of the country improved last month. In the Northeast, sales increased 4.7% (30.4% y/y) to 900,000 after double-digit increases in each of the prior three months. Sales in the Midwest rose 8.6% (28.1% y/y) to a record 1.640 million units. In the West, sales improved 1.4% (22.8% y/y) to 1.400 million after a 10.4% rise. Sales in the South improved 3.2% (26.5% y/y) during October to a record 2.910 million units following a 9.3% September increase.

The number of homes on the market declined 19.8% y/y. The months' supply of homes on the market fell to 2.5, a record low.

Strong demand coupled with tight supply raised the median price of an existing home 0.5% (15.5% y/y) to a record $313,000. The mean sales price improved 0.6% last month (12.3% y/y) to $345,100. The median home price in the Northeast improved 0.5% (20.2% y/y) to $356,500. In the Midwest, prices gained 0.2% (16.7% y/y) to $243,500. The median home price in the South rose 1.8% (15.7% y/y) to $272,500 while prices in the West edged 0.1% higher (15.1% y/y) to $467,800. The price data are not seasonally adjusted.

Sales of existing single-family homes improved 4.1% (26.7% y/y) to 6.120 million units, the fifth consecutive month of increase. Sales of condos and co-ops rose 5.8% (25.9% y/y) to 730,000 units. It was also the fifth straight month of strong increase and left sales at the highest level since December 2006.

The data on existing home sales, prices and affordability are compiled by the National Association of Realtors. The data trace back to February 1968. Total sales and price data and regional sales can be found in Haver's USECON database. Regional price and affordability data and national inventory data are available in the REALTOR database. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, reported in the AS1REPNA database.

Existing Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Oct  Sep Aug Oct Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Total Sales 6,850 6,570 5,980 26.6 5,330 5,334 5,527
   Northeast 900 860 740 30.4 687 687 736
   Midwest 1,640 1,510 1,410 28.1 1,248 1,264 1,302
   South 2,910 2,820 2,580 26.5 2,281 2,245 2,268
   West 1,400 1,380 1,250 22.8 1,115 1,138 1,222
Single-Family Sales 6,120 5,880 5,350 26.7 4,754 4,737 4,904
Median Price Total ($, NSA) 313,000 311,400 310,400 15.5 269,783 257,267 245,950
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