Existing-home sales of all types—including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops—plunged 10.5% in November to the lowest point in 19 months, due to an anomaly as the industry adjusts to the new "Know Before You Owe" rule, according to a monthly release by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Tuesday morning.
sales dropped to an annual rate of 4.76 million in November from last month’s revised 5.32 million, which is 3.8% below the reading a year earlier.
“Sparse inventory and affordability issues continue to impede a large pool of buyers' ability to buy, which is holding back sales,” said Laurence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a statement. “However, signed contracts have remained mostly steady in recent months, and properties sold faster in November. Therefore it's highly possible the stark sales decline wasn't because of sudden, withering demand."
The share of first-time buyers decreased to 30% in this month, down from 31% both in October and a year ago. Despite the absence of first-time buyers on the market, a recent NAR poll found that 94% of current renters, aged 34 and below, hope to own a home in the future, indicating a potential increase in first-time buyers.
Sales of existing single-family homes reached an annual rate of 4.15 million in November, a 12.1% month-over-month decrease and a 4.6% year-over-year drop. At the regional level, the South region has seen the largest year-over-year drop, at 7.1%, but still ranked the top in terms of sales volume, with 1,700,000 sales recorded in November.
The median home price for existing single-family homes went up 4.5% to $221,600 in November, a 6.6% increase year-over-year. The West region has seen the biggest year-over-year hike in existing single-family home price median, jumping 8.6% to $323,400 as of this November. It is also the market with the highest median sales price for single-family homes.
To highlight the changes over median prices for existing single-family homes, we have created a chart below that showcases this year's monthly price median in relation to last year's annual median.
Read the full release from the National Association of Realtors for additional commentary on November existing single family home sales.