Home sales in the country picked up pace in October. Per the most recent data from the National Association of Realtors, US home sales increased by 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million last month but still 0.9 percent below the year prior.
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All existing home sales which include all completed transactions from single-family homes and townhomes to condominiums and co-ops have reportedly slightly increased in number. October’s increase is the strongest pace since June. In fact, it’s the second consecutive month that home sales increased. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says this can be attributed to the continued job growth pushing up wages and therefore, affordability along with it.
Job growth fuel
“Job growth in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home,” Yun says.
Despite this, however, the market remains unforgiving to home shoppers on a tight budget. Home inventoryis still scarce and those who cannot afford the current price tags are forced to delay buying a home in order to have more time to save. Others who are priced out in major cities but can afford to move opt to expand their areas of preference to consider more suburban communities.
“While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated,” Yun adds.
He also noted that areas that were hard-hit by the hurricanes are still recovering from the disasters. Yun predicts that sales in these regions would “bounce back” to their “pre-storm levels” at the end of this year.
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Here’s a quick breakdown of the percentage of sales per region:
- In the Northeast, existing home sales increased 4.2 percent to an annual rate of 740,000, the same as the previous year. The average price of homes in this region in October sat at $272,800, an increase of 6.6 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
- Existing home sales in the Midwest also increased by 0.8 percent to an annual adjusted rate of 1.31 million. This is however 1.5 percent lower than the previous year’s record. The average price of a home in the Midwest was at $194,700, an increase of 7.1 percent from the same time a year prior.
- Home sales in the South registered an adjusted annual rate of 2.16 million in October, a 1.8 percent decrease from the previous year. The average home price in the South was $214,900, a 4.6 percent increase from October 2016.
- In the West, existing home sales increased by 2.4 percent to an adjusted annual rate of 1.27 million, an increase of 0.8 percent from a year ago. The average home priced in the west sat at $375,100 last month, a 7.8 percent increase from last year.