Existing-home sales grew 1.9 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million units, according to data by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released on Thursday. The uptick comes after a slight drop last month.
The median existing-home price in October was $270,900, a 6.2 percent increase from the same time last year and the 92nd month of annual gains. Sales are also up 4.6 percent year-over-year.
“Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a prepared statement. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.”
Housing inventory, however, is still struggling to keep up with buyer demand. In total, there were 1.77 million total housing inventory units on the market at the end of October – a 2.7 percent decrease from September to October and a 4.3 percent drop from October 2018. At the end of the month, there was a 3.9-months supply at the current sales pace. The average property remained on the market for 36 days, up from 32 days in September.
First-time buyers made up 31 percent of all sales in October while all-cash sales were done for 14 percent of sales, same as last month. According to NAR, the uptick in existing-home sales spells good things for a housing market battling with high prices — more sales, as well as more building permits, will help bring down competition for existing homes.
“It is great to see home sales rise along with an increase in housing permits,” said NAR President Vince Malta in a prepared statement. “Both home buyers and the home sellers are being rewarded by these developments, and we see that conditions remain extremely favorable for real estate investment in America.”