Existing home sales increased in November, rising 4% to an annualized pace of 4.42 million units according to a National Association of Realtors report released this morning. Despite the encouraging growth this report included significant downward revisions to sales dating as far back as January 2007. Even with the downward revisions sales have grown 12.2% year-over-year in November. Some of this year-over year strength can be attributed to slow sales in November 2010 following the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit.
Existing home sales were revised down by 14.5% from a pace of 4.97 million to 4.25 million. These revisions extended all of the way to the beginning of 2007. The revisions reduced 2010 existing home sales by nearly 14.8%. There were also significant revisions in the number of homes listed for sale. Despite these revisions historical growth rates for existing home sales remain relatively unchanged.
Growth in November was seen across all regions, with the Northeast posting the strongest gains of 9.8% in November. The South saw the least improvement, rising 2.4% in November.
The months of homes available for sale continued to fall in November to 7.0, down from 7.7 the previous month. After incorporating downward revisions, this is the lowest level seen this year. These declines have been led by falling home inventory, rather than strong sales growth.
The median home price rose to $164,200 in November, up from $160,800 last month. Despite this, home sales remain 3.5% below their level one year ago.
Read the report.