Home sales continue to seesaw—while levels increased from the previous year, they dipped from previous month. Following historic seasonal trends, October home sales edged 2.8 percent lower than September, but still pushed 2.2 percent higher than sales in October 2012. Median home prices were 11.9 percent above prices seen last October.
“What we’re seeing now are predictable seasonal cycles, which is just another sign that the housing recovery is bringing us back to a more normal market,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX. “Home sales are expected to slow down during the holidays and winter months before returning to the next growth cycle in the spring.”
Home sales have experienced year-over-year increases in both sales and prices for 21 months now. The median price of all homes sold in October was $179,950. Inventories of homes for sale were 12.2 percent lower than the levels in October last year. For the last 29 months in a row, inventories have declined at a slower rate.
The October inventory drop is half of the annual loss seen as recently as June. At the current rate of sales, the number of months required to sell the entire inventory of homes on the market was 4.9. A 6-month supply is recognized as a balanced market with an equal number of buyers and sellers.
For the most part, normal seasonal trends are responsible for slowing month-to-month changes in home sales. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in October, 35 reported higher sales than in October 2012, with 19 reporting double-digit gains. New York, New York experienced gains of 32.6 percent; Trenton, New Jersey experienced gains of 32.5 percent; Anchorage, Alaska experienced gains of 24.2 percent; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania experienced gains of 18.2 percent; Wilmington, Delaware experienced gains of 18.1 percent; and Manchester, New Hampshire experienced gains of 17.1 percent.
In the month of October, homes stayed on the market for an average of 66 days. This is one day higher than the average seen in September, but is 16 days lower than the average seen in October 2012. An average this low is the direct result of continued high demand and a reduced inventory of homes for sale, according to RE/MAX.
The housing market has been plagued by a low inventory environment, but for seven consecutive months, inventory has declined at a slower rate than during the same month of the previous year. While not yet adding inventory, the situation is improving. In October, there were 5.1 percent fewer homes for sale than in September, and 12.2 percent fewer than in October 2012. At the rate of home sales in October, the Months Supply of inventory was 4.9.