Existing home sales were up last month at the fastest pace seen since January, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors.
The NAR said Wednesday that previously occupied home sales went up 1.9% in November from the month before to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 6.46 million units. That's the sharpest increase in ten months, but sales were down 2% compared to November of 2020.
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"Existing-home sales increased for the third straight month to a robust 6.46 million pace in November, another indication that the housing market is closing the year on strong footing," Mortgage Bankers Association associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting Joel Kan said in a statement reacting to NAR's report on existing home sales.
"The annualized sales pace saw the strongest reading since January 2021, but was also accompanied by a 10% drop in for-sale inventory," Kan continued, noting that "the 1.1 million units for sale is less than half of the historical average."
The national median home price also saw a boost in November to $353,900, up 13.9% from the same month last year as low inventory continues to drive up demand for houses on the market.
"Buyers continued to snap up available homes, as for-sale listings only lasted 18 days on the market," explained Kan. "This swift competition continues to exert upward pressure on sales prices, overall home-price growth, and is impacting prospective first-time buyers. They continued to struggle reaching the market and only represented 26% of all sales last month – down from 29% in October and 32% last November."
But Kan sees some hope on the inventory end.
"The U.S. Census Bureau’s recent release on housing starts indicated a surge in new construction and permitting activity in November, which will hopefully start to help ease the housing supply shortages the market is facing," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.