Existing-Home Sales Increase Strongly by 2.0% in October

By Sharon Nunn and Sarah ChaneyFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Sales of previously-owned homes grew robustly in October, as home sales continued to rebound in recently hurricane-ravaged markets.

Existing-home sales increased 2.0% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.2% increase to a 5.40 million annual rate in October.

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The October sales figure still marked a year-over-year decline, weighed down by supply shortages.

Home sales in areas hit by recent hurricanes, including Houston, Orlando and other major Florida markets, showed gains from prior months, helping to drive up the nationwide increase in October, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

Hurricanes that battered the southern and eastern U.S. in August and September previously caused year over year growth to slow and out-right declined.

The hurricanes and a shortage of homes that has driven home prices higher are affecting the housing market's momentum. The median price of homes sold last month rose to $247,000 in October, up 5.5% from a year earlier. This marks the fifth consecutive year of price gains.

The shortage of homes can also be seen in October's current sales pace reading. It would take 3.9 months to exhaust the supply of homes on the market, the lowest October reading since 1999, the year NAR started tracking the data.

News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.

Write to Sharon Nunn at sharon.nunn@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 21, 2017 10:15 ET (15:15 GMT)