Royal Oak Tribune

November existing home sales fall 2.5%

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Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in November for the first time in six months, suggesting that surging prices and a recordlow supply are constraini­ng red-hot demand.

Contract closings decreased 2.5% from the prior month’s almost 15-year high to an annualized 6.69 million rate, according to National Associatio­n of Realtors data released Tuesday. That was up 25.8% from a year earlier and compared with economists’ forecasts for 6.7 million.

The median selling price jumped 14.6% from a year earlier on an unadjusted basis to $310,800, the fourth straight month of doubledigi­t increases.

The decline signals that strong demand is running up against constraint­s, with few available properties and weaker affordabil­ity likely keeping some buyers out of the market. Still, home sales remain brisk, well above prepandemi­c levels and near the highest since 2005, with demand skewed toward moreexpens­ive houses. The new fiscal stimulus package, approved by Congress on Monday, could prop up household incomes and keep the purchasing spree going into the first quarter of next year.

Several data points illustrate­d how historical­ly tight the market is. Available inventory declined 22% from a year earlier to 1.28 million units, the lowest in data back to 1982, the NAR said. Properties remained on the market for 21 days in November, unchanged from the prior month and matching a record low. It would take 2.3 months to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace, the lowest on record.

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