The holiday season and winter weather slowed home sales in November. Last week, the NAR reported that sales of existing homes had slumped to their lowest level in nearly a year, but this was not unexpected. Short supplies of available homes and rising mortgage rates have increased pent-up demand for homes have kept some buyers on the sidelines.
Improvement In The Labor Market 4.90 existing homes were sold in November; this was lower than the 5.13 million existing homes sold in October, as well as lower than expectations of 5.00 million existing home sales in November. Existing home sales for November 2013 were also 1.20 percent lower than for November 2012; this is the first time in 29 months that existing home sales were lower year-over-year. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, described the slow-down in sales as a "clear loss of momentum." The outlook for 2014 is better, as analysts expect continued improvement in the labor market. The pent-up demand for homes will ease as homeowners begin to list their homes for sale as home prices increase. Mr. Yun also noted that prices for existing homes are increasing at their highest rate in eight years. The national median home price of existing homes rose to $196,000 in November, which represents a year-over-year increase of 9.40 percent. There was a 5.1 month supply of previously homes available at the current sales rate.
Housing Market Continues To Progress Over Long Term The Census Bureau and HUD report that 464,000 new homes were sold in November. This was 2.10 percent lower than October's rate of 474,000 new homes sold. This represents an increase of 16.60 percent as compared to the 398,000 new homes sold in November 2012. The national median home price for new homes in November was $270,900; with an average new home price of $340,300. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new homes for sale in November was 167,000; this reading represents a 4.30 month supply of new homes for sale. While home builder confidence is up and recent labor reports indicate improving job markets, the Fed's decision to taper its quantitative easing program in January is generating some uncertainty as mortgage rates will likely rise as the Fed winds down the QE program.