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U.S. existing-home sales fall for the 10th straight month in November — longest losing streak on record

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The numbers: U.S. existing-home sales fell 7.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million in November, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

This is the 10th straight monthly decline in existing-home sales. The 10-month losing streak is the longest since NAR began tracking sales in 1999.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal were expecting existing-home sales to drop to 4.17 million.

The last time existing-home sales fell to this level was in May 2020.

Outside of the pandemic, the level of sales activity was lowest since November 2010, while in the midst of the foreclosure crisis in the United States.

Compared with November 2021, home sales were down 35.4%.

Key details: The median price for an existing home fell to $370,700 in November, from $379,100 in October.

The number of homes on the market fell 6.6% to 1.14 million units in November. 

Expressed in terms of the months-supply metric, there was a 3.3-month supply of homes for sale in November, the same as the previous month. Before the pandemic, a four or five-month supply was more the norm.

Homes remained on the market for 24 days on average, up from 21 days in October. Pre-pandemic, the average time for homes to remain on the market was a month. 

Sales of existing homes mostly fell across the country, led by the West, which saw a 12.5% drop. The West also saw the slowest increase in home prices, the NAR noted.

All-cash transactions made up 26% of all transactions. About 28% of homes were sold to first-time home buyers, unchanged from the previous month.

Big picture: The housing market is still finding its footing amid a quiet holiday season.

With mortgage rates firmly above 6%, existing-home prices continue to moderate.

Plus, with the inventory of homes still tight, homebuyers are still having a hard time finding good deals.

Some economists are expecting the downturn in housing to persist until buyer demand recovers.

What the realtors said: “The real estate market was frozen in November, resembling the sales activity seen during the COVID-19 economic lockdowns in 2020,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors said. 

Yun attributed to the fall in sales in November to a rapid run-up in mortgage rates between late October and early November, when rates exceeded 7%.

With rates coming off those highs, “maybe we should turn the corner in sales in a month or two,” he added.

The housing market is in a recession, Yun stressed, but homeowners and home values will not be affected he added.

Market reaction: Stocks
were up in early trading on Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year note
rose above 3.6%.


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