Existing Home Sales Increase for Third Straight Month
November Pace is the Highest Since February 2007
Existing home sales in November reached the highest pace since February 2007, rising 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.61 million units, compared to a downwardly revised 5.57 million units in October, the National Association of Realtors reports.
A big surge in the Northeast, coupled with a smaller gain in the South, drove November's sales upward for the third consecutive month. Sales have jumped 15.4 percent year-over-year.
November's result surprised analysts, who forecast sales would drop 1 percent to a rate of 5.50 million units, according to Construction Dive, citing Reuters as its source.
Sales in the Northeast jumped 8.0 percent for the month, and have climbed 15.7 percent from a year ago. The South posted a gain of 1.4 percent, and is now 11.6 percent above its November 2015 pace.
Both the Midwest and West posted losses, shedding 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. However, the Midwest is up 18.8 percent from a year ago, while the West has climbed 19.0 percent compared to November 2015.
"The healthiest job market since the Great Recession and the anticipation of some buyers to close on a home before mortgage rates accurately rose from their historically low level have combined to drive sales higher in recent months," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. "Furthermore, it's no coincidence that home shoppers in the Northeast -- where price growth has been tame all year -- had the most success last month." The results of the last three months have been "outstanding," he added.
Single-family home sales dropped 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.95 million units in November, compared to 4.97 million units in October, but are still 16.2 percent higher year-over-year. Existing condominium and co-op sales jumped 10.0 percent for the month, and are now 10.0 percent above a year ago.