U.S. Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Climb 0.8% In October

Existing home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly increased in the month of October, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Monday.

NAR said existing home sales climbed 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 6.34 million in October after spiking by 7.0 percent to a rate of 6.29 million in September.

The continued increase surprised economists, who had expected existing home sales to slump by 1.4 percent to a rate of 6.20 million.

Despite the monthly advance, the annual rate of existing home sales in October is down by 5.8 percent from 6.73 million in the same month a year ago.

“Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges,” said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun.

He added, “Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

The report said housing inventory at the end of October totaled 1.25 million units, down 0.8 percent from 1.26 million in September and down 12.0 percent from 1.42 million units a year ago.

The unsold inventory represents 2.4 months of supply at the current sales rate, unchanged from September but down from 2.5 months in October of 2020.

NAR also said the median existing home price for all housing types in October was $353,900, up 13.1 percent from $313,000 in the same month last year.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of October. Economists expect new home sales to decrease by 1.3 percent to a rate of 790,000.

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