Existing-home sales jump in Oct.

November 20, 2014

WASHINGTON (11/21/14)--After stumbling late in the summer, existing-home sales have rebounded with a 1.5% jump in October to 5.26 million annualized units sold on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the National Association of Realtors ( Nov. 20).

Existing-home sales also sit 2.5% higher than levels seen at this time last year, with three out of four U.S. regions posting monthly gains.

The South posted the highest climb month-over-month (5.3%), trailed by the Midwest (5.1%) and the Northeast (4.4%). The West was the only region not to record an increase in sales.

National single-family home inventory fell 3% to 1.96 million units in October, potentially signaling a modest tightening in that segment of the market, according to Moody's analysts.

Inventory remained 5.4% above levels seen in October 2013, however.

Condo and co-op sales have not picked up as much speed as single-family homes, but they are beginning to climb, Moody's said, recording a 3.3% jump from September.

The median sales prices for single-family homes fell to $208,700 in October, sitting 5.6% higher year-over-year, while the average single-family home price has jumped 4.1% annually.

"In terms of sales volume, the housing market has almost pulled out of its slump in the first quarter of 2014, and the steady upward trend in prices is also a good sign of excess demand," said Andres Carbacho-Burgos, Moody's analyst ( "The median existing single-family home price is well on its way to regaining the 2005 peak by the end of next year."

While single-family home construction has taken the slow road in its recovery from the recession, single-family starts are expected to hasten next year, especially if the labor market continues to tighten and the labor force and household formation continued to climb, Carbacho-Burgos said.