Total existing-home sales rose by 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October, according to new data
from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). November’s sales were 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and were the strongest since the December 2006 level of 6.42 million.
Also on the rise were home prices. The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $248,000, up 5.8 percent from the $234,000 price in November 2016. November marked the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains.
But, not surprisingly, inventory was not on the rise. The total housing inventory at the end of November dropped 7.2 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.7 percent lower than the 1.85 million level set a year ago. Inventory levels have been in a year-over-year free-fall for 30 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from four months a year ago.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun warned that housing trends do not bode well for those seeking affordable homeownership opportunities.
“The anticipated rise in mortgage rates next year could further cut into affordability if these staggeringly low supply levels persist,” said Yun. “Price appreciation is too fast in a lot of markets right now. The increase in homebuilder optimism must translate to significantly more new construction in 2018 to help ease these acute inventory shortages.”