October Existing-Home Sales: Midwest and South Sales Climbed

This morning's release of the October Existing-Home Sales showed that sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million units from the previous month's 6.29 million. The Investing.com consensus was for 6.20 million. The latest number represents a 0.8% increase from the previous month and a 5.8% decrease YoY.

Here is an excerpt from today's report from the National Association of Realtors.

WASHINGTON (November 22, 2021) – Existing-home sales increased in October, marking two straight months of growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Two of the four major U.S. regions saw month-over-month sales climb, one region reported a drop and the fourth area held steady in October. On a year-over-year basis, each region witnessed sales decrease.

Total existing-home sales,1 https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.8% from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million in October. Sales fell 5.8% from a year ago (6.73 million in October 2020).

"Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment." [Full Report]

In terms of median home sales prices, here's the latest:

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in October was $353,900, up 13.1% from October 2020 ($313,000), as prices climbed in each region. This marks 116 straight months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

For a longer-term perspective, here is a snapshot of the data series, which comes from the National Association of Realtors. The data since January 1999 was previously available in the St. Louis Fed's FRED repository and is now only available for the last twelve months.

Existing Home Sales

Over this time frame, we clearly see the Real Estate Bubble, which peaked in 2005 and then fell dramatically. Sales were volatile for the first year or so following the Great Recession.

The Population-Adjusted Reality

Now let's examine the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates show a 19.3% increase in the US population since the turn of the century. The snapshot below is an overlay of the NAR's annualized estimates with a population-adjusted version.

Existing Home Sales Growth

Existing-home sales are 21.2% above the NAR's January 2000 estimate. The population-adjusted version is 2.7% above the turn-of-the-century sales.

Existing-Home Sales Median Prices for Single Family Homes

We've added a chart for the last 12 months of Existing-home sales median prices for single-family homes for reference.

The next release of existing home sales will be on December 22.