Following the high-water mark for 2014 home sales reached in October, sales of existing homes sales dipped in November as the housing supply displayed some contraction, according to data provided by the National Association of Realtors®. November's dip affected each major region of the nation. Total existing-home sales data -- which tracks completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops -- dropped 6.1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million compared to 5.25 million in October. While sales remained above year-over-year levels (up 2.1 percent from last November), transactions dropped to their lowest annual pace since May (4.91 million)
The chief economist at NAR, Lawrence Yun, suggested that sales activity was uneven throughout the country in November while housing inventory began its expected seasonal decline. Yun said, “Fewer people bought homes last month despite interest rates being at their lowest levels of the year." Yun added, “the stock market swings in October may have impacted some consumers’ psyches and therefore led to fewer November closings. Furthermore, rising home values are causing more investors to retreat from the market.”
Total housing inventory of existing homes available at the end of November dropped to 2.09 million (-6.7%) which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace; this is unchanged from last month. However, despite the contraction in supply, unsold inventory is still 2.0 percent above what it was a year ago, when there were 2.05 million existing homes available for sale.
The percentage of first-time buyer transactions in November rose to 31 percent, up from October (29 percent) and represents the highest share since October 2012 (also 31 percent). Through November of this year, on average, first-time buyers have been 29 percent of all buyers.