Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, December 20, 2012

Existing-home sales continued to improve in November with low inventory pressuring home prices upward, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total existing-home sales — completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November from a downwardly revised 4.76 million in October, and are 14.5 percent higher than the 4.40 million-unit pace in November 2011. Sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the annual pace spiked at 5.44 million.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is healthy market demand. “Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation,” he said. “With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show storm-related disruptions but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset by gains in unaffected areas.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from November 2011. This is the ninthconsecutive monthly year-over-year price gain, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.

Distressed Sales

Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts — accounted for 22 percent of November sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 10 percent were short sales), down from 24 percent in October and 29 percent in November 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in November, while short sales were discounted 16 percent.