Sales of previously owned homes fell for the third straight month in November, as prices continued to rise year-over-year, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
The annual pace of existing home sales (which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) fell 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.90 million in November, down from 5.12 million in October. For the first time in 29 months, the pace is slower (by 1.2%) than the rate one year earlier.
“Home sales are hurt by higher mortgage interest rates, constrained inventory and continuing tight credit,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “There is a pent-up demand for both rental and owner-occupied housing as household formation will inevitably burst out, but the bottleneck is in limited housing supply, due to the slow recovery in new home construction. As such, rents are rising at the fastest pace in five years, while annual home prices are rising at the highest rate in eight years.”
Case in point: the national median sale price for previously-owned homes was $196,300 in November, up 9.4% year-over-year. However, that figure is lower than October’s median sales price, and ends an 11-month run of double-digit increases in sales prices year-over-year.
Distressed homes continued to account for 14% of sales (9% foreclosures and 5% short sales), as they did in both October and September. One year ago, in November 2012, distressed sales accounted for 22% of the total existing home sales. The decreased number of these properties on the market is contributing to the rise in median sale price.