Existing Home Sales Dip in October

(Illustration courtesy of the National Association of Realtors)

Existing home sales dropped in October, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

Among the four major U.S. regions, sales slid in the Northeast, South and West but were unchanged in the Midwest, NAR said. All four regions experienced year-over-year sales declines.

Total existing home sales–completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops–fell 4.1% from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.79 million in October. Year-over-year, sales tumbled 14.6% (down from 4.44 million in October 2022), the report said.

“Prospective home buyers experienced another difficult month due to the persistent lack of housing inventory and the highest mortgage rates in a generation,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun noted. “Multiple offers, however, are still occurring, especially on starter and mid-priced homes, even as price concessions are happening in the upper end of the market.”

Selma Hepp, chief economist with CoreLogic, Irvine, Calif., noted existing home sales continue to lag as interest rates remain high and home prices both prove to be a large barrier to purchasing. “Recent CoreLogic transaction data suggests that existing home sales are leveling off despite the recent surge in rates,” she said. “At the same time, existing inventory also appears to have bottomed out and new listings are keeping steady despite the usual seasonal decline. Together, the two may suggest that there really is nowhere to go but up in 2024.”

NAR reported total housing inventory registered at the end of October was 1.15 million units, up 1.8% from September but down 5.7% from one year ago (1.22 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.4 months in September and 3.3 months in October 2022.

The median existing home price for all housing types in October was $391,800, an increase of 3.4% from October 2022 ($378,800). All four U.S. regions registered price increases.

“While circumstances for buyers remain tight, home sellers have done well as prices continue to rise year-over-year, including a new all-time high for the month of October,” Yun said. “In fact, a typical homeowner has accumulated more than $100,000 in housing wealth over the past three years.”