Home Sales Remained Sluggish in October


The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its Existing Home Sales report-discovering that October 2017 reported the strongest pace since June, but low supply continues to lead to fewer closings on an annual basis for the second month in a row.

The pace of sales hit its highest level in four months but nevertheless remained subdued in a year that has seen a pronounced downward trend.

"Job growth in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home", NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a prepared statement.

For a second consecutive month in October, home sales declined slightly in CT from a year earlier even as markets across the Northeast stayed flat from October 2016.

But the increase in median sale prices in October was accompanied by some negative news, as well: Actual sales transactions for the month were down slightly for both single-family homes along with townhouses and condominiums, according to the Connecticut Realtors trade group. Inventory has fallen year-over-year for 29 consecutive months and unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.4 months a year ago.

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"Listings - especially those in the affordable price range - continue to go under contract typically a week faster than a year ago, and even quicker in many areas where healthy job markets are driving sustained demand for buying", said Yun.

A Crooked Trail home in Norwalk, Conn., which sold in October 2017 for $1.9 million. A 6 month to 6.5 month supply is considered to be a balanced market.

"Roughly half of what's available to buy is priced in the upper one-third of home values, leaving scant options for those aging millennials and young families trying to get their foot in the door", said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. The unemployment rate in the Phoenix metro area fell to 3.7 percent, the city announced last week. That gain has now been revised down to 5.37 million. Prices also jumped 6.5 percent to a median sales price of $205,000 over the same period, according to a release from the Maine Association of Realtors.

October existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 4.2 percent to an annual rate of 740,000, (unchanged from a year ago). Sales in the West grew 2.4% and are now 0.8% above a year ago.

The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the US jumped 1.2% in October to 130.4, following a 0.1% gain in September and a 0.4% increase in August. The median price in the West was $375,100, up 7.8% from October 2016.