Existing-Home Sales Continue to Rise in November 2011, NAR says

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced last Wednesday that existing-home sales rose in November this year and stayed above one year ago.

“The latest monthly data shows total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November from 4.25 million in October, and are 12.2 percent above the 3.94 million-unit pace in November 2010,” NAR said in a statement.

“We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said.

According to NAR, the overall housing inventory at the end of November this year declined by 5.8% or to 2.58 million existing homes for sale. This represents a 7.0-month supply at the existing sales pace, a decline from 7.7-month supply in October.

Yun said, “Since setting a record of 4.04 million in July 2007, inventories have trended down and supplies are moving close to price stabilization levels.”

The realtor association reported that the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $164,200 for the month of November. This is a 3.5% decline from a year ago.

Distressed home sales, including foreclosures and short sales usually sold at discounted prices, accounted for 29% of sales in November, according to NAR. Of this 29% distressed home sales, 10 percent were short sales and 19 percent were foreclosures.

Nineteen percent of the homes sold in November were bought by investors, while 35% of the homes sold in November were bought by first-time buyers. This number of first-time buyers is up by 34% in October of this year and up by 32% in November last year.

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