• Existing-home sales are starting to trail off, with no geographic regions of the country reporting gains in sales in October.
  • NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun pointed to ongoing supply shortages and persistent affordability concerns in some markets.

After maintaining a healthy selling pace for most of this year, existing-home sales are starting to trail off, with no geographic regions of the country reporting gains in sales in October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Completed sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, totaled 5.36 million last month, a 3.4-percent decrease from September’s revised total of 5.5 million, NAR said.

Single-family home sales totaled 4.75 million, a 3.7-percent decrease over September’s 4.93 million sales. Condo and co-op sales totaled 610,000 units, a 1.6-decline from September’s 620,000 unit sales.

October EHS Infographic

The decline wasn’t unexpected, as NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun pointed to ongoing supply shortages and persistent affordability concerns in some markets.

Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 2.3 percent to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 4.5 percent lower than the 2.24 million homes that were available for sale in October 2014.

Unsold inventory is at a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.7 months in September.

In addition, the median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $219,600, a 5.8-percent increase above October 2014’s median price of $207,500 and the 44th consecutive month that prices have increased.

“New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall,” Yun said. “The mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales.”

However, a year-over-year comparison shows that sales are still 3.9 percent higher than they were in October 2014, NAR said. With mortgage rates remaining below 4 percent for the third straight month, it’s possible for sales to hold steady for the remainder of the year, until the Fed’s expected rate hike.

“As long as solid job creation continues, a gradual easing of credit standards, even with moderately higher mortgage rates, should support steady demand and sales continuing to rise above a year ago,” Yun added.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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