Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Existing-home sales reach strongest pace in more than a decade

Existing-home sales reach strongest pace in more than a decade

There were 10,719 closed home sales across New York State during November, representing the second-highest total on record for the month, according to the housing market report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS.

Single-family home sales grew 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.09 million in November from 4.87 million in October, and are now 3.2 percent above the 4.93 million pace a year ago.

Existing home sales in the United States surged for a third month in a row in November and reached their strongest pace in nearly 11 years, the latest national index shows.

"Home prices continue to march higher at a very solid pace", Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of NAR, said at a press briefing.

In addition, first-time buyers consist of 29% of all sales, compared with 32% in October a year ago, according to Yun.

"With the lower end of the market seeing the worst of the supply crunch, house hunters faced mounting odds in finding their first home", Yun said.

In October, Yun said persistent inventory shortages were to blame for why first-time buyers couldn't close on a home.

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"Through November, the number of home sales statewide in 2017 has exceeded the best-ever 2016 by 0.6%", said Greg Gosselin, broker/owner of Gosselin Realty Group in York and 2017 president of the Maine Association of Realtors.

NAR reports that all regions saw a significant jump in sales activity last month except for the West, which saw a 2.3 decrease in sales activity.

Within in ME, home prices jumped more than 24 percent in Piscataquis County in a comparison of quarterly sales. The tides again seem to be shifting as we move into winter - traditionally a slow home shopping season, although that may be changing as more shoppers linger longer on the market.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $248,000, up 5.8% from November 2016. Sales in the Northeast were particularly strong, up 6.7 percent in November, with the median price up 4 percent to $273,600.

"The healthy labor market and higher wage gains are expected to further strengthen buyer demand from young adults next year", Yun said.

But he also revealed that the rise is not coming from first time buyers. November marks the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in inventory. "Price appreciation is too fast in a lot of markets right now. Their prospects for becoming homeowners will only improve if more lower-priced and smaller-sized homes come onto the market". However, those numbers are a 2.5 percent improvement from a year ago. The median home price was $197,500. And in the West, where prices were the highest at $376,200, sales fell 6.3% from October.

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