October 2016 sales of existing U.S. homes posted a second consecutive month of gains and, while doing so, set a record for the highest number of transactions in nearly 10 years, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the back-to-back increases are a sign the housing market is experiencing a revival.
“October’s strong sales gain was widespread throughout the country and can be attributed to the release of the unrealized pent-up demand that held back many would-be buyers over the summer because of tight supply,” Yun said in the report. “Buyers are having more success lately despite low inventory and prices that continue to swiftly rise above incomes.”
Sales of single-family homes rose 2.3 percent for the month to 4.99 million, up from 4.68 million in October 2015. Sales of condominiums and co-ops remained unchanged (610,000 units.) The median price of the former came in at $233,700, and the median price of the latter came in at $220,300 – both increases from one year ago.
Who is buying? The report list first-timers as 33 percent of the market, up from 31 percent last October.
“The good news is that the tightening labor market is beginning to push up wages, and the economy has lately shown signs of greater expansion,” Yun explained. “These two factors and low mortgage rates have kept buyer interest at an elevated level so far this fall.”
Other statistics of interest from the NAR’s report:
- Foreclosures and short sales, called distressed sales, made up 5 percent of the total number of transactions, down from last year’s 6 percent.
- Cash sales came in at 22 percent of for the month, a decrease from 24 percent. In the Northeast Region, existing-home sales increased to 750,000, and the median price jumped to $255,500.
- In the Midwest Region, existing-home sales increased to 1.36 million, and the median price jumped to $181,500.
- In the South Region, existing-home sales increased to 2.22 million, and the median price jumped to $202,300.
- In the West Region, existing-home sales increased to 1.27 million, and the median price jumped to $345,800.
Headquartered in Chicago, the National Association of Realtors represents the “voice of real estate” and an estimated 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the industry.