WASHINGTON (12/23/14)--After consecutive months of positive gains, existing-home sales regressed in November, dropping 6.1% to 4.93 million annualized units sold from 5.25 million in October (Economy.com Dec. 22).
November's performance comes in 2.1% higher than last year's number nationally, but only two of the four census regions posted numbers higher than last year's pace. And all four regions recorded monthly declines in sales in November.
While Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said November's poor sales performance was an aberration--caused by stock market swings that scared away investors--Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, said last week that she continues to be surprised the housing market has not recovered more robustly, and suggested that tight credit was partly responsible (MarketWatch Dec. 22).
By region, sales fell 4.2% in the Northeast, 8.9% in the Midwest, 3.2% in the South and nearly 10% in the West.
Nationwide, condos, co-ops and single-family homes all posted fewer sales in November.
Inventory fell in November as well, dropping to 2.09 million units from 2.24 million in October, or a 6.7% decline. The supply of homes, meanwhile, held steady at 5.1 months between October and November.
Further, the median sales prices of single-family homes dropped slightly in November to $206,200, which is still higher than the price seen in November of last year.
Annually, single-family home prices have climbed 3.9%.