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Existing Home Sales (M/M) Nov: 1.9% (Est 3.0%; Prev 0.8%) - Existing Home Sales Rise For Third Month Nearing Record Territory - Neil's Summary

Dec. 22, 2021 11:28 AM ET
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US Existing Home Sales Nov: 6.46M (est 6.53M; prev 6.34M)

- Existing Home Sales (M/M) Nov: 1.9% (est 3.0%; prev 0.8%)

Existing-Home Sales Continue Upward, Increasing 1.9% in November (nar.realtor)

All figures are m/m unless otherwise noted.

After bouncing strongly higher in September and moving a little higher in October, existing home sales were up another 1.9% in November better than October's +0.8% but below estimates for +3.0%. Y/y sales were down only -2.0%. The fact that sales are down only two percent is a bit amazing given the unusual strength of the market end of last year.

And unadjusted sales were actually the highest since 2005 (as 2021 had one more selling day than 2020).

Inventories, which are not seasonally adjusted, continued to contract, down -9.8% m/m, which is a big drop even for this time of year, which left supply at only 2.1 months (down from 2.4 in October). As you can see from the chart below that continues to be extremely low historically. (From Calculated Risk: Note that "inventory usually decreases to the seasonal lows in December and January, and peaks in mid-to-late summer. Since inventory is not seasonally adjusted, it really helps to look at the YoY change. Months-of-supply is based on the seasonally adjusted sales and not seasonally adjusted inventory."). Y/y inventories are down -13.3%.

The strength of the market shown by the fact that "[p]roperties typically remained on the market for 18 days in November, equal to October and down from 21 days in November 2020. Eighty-three percent of homes sold in November 2021 were on the market for less than a month." That last figure was down slightly from 84% in September, 87% in August, and 89% in May and June. Prices remained high at median of $354k, same as October, but down a bit from $358k in August and the record high seen in June at just under $360k. That is up from $311k in November 2020.

First time buyers were down to 26% from 29% in October, and down from 31% in June and 32% a year ago. Investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes, down from 17% in October. That is up slightly from 14% a year ago. All cash sales were at 24%, same as October and up from 20% a year ago.

Distressed sales remained non-existent at less than 1% of sales.

From the NAR:

“Determined buyers were able to land housing before mortgage rates rise further in the coming months,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Locking in a constant and firm mortgage payment motivated many consumers who grew weary of escalating rents over the last year.
“Mortgage rates are projected to jump in 2022, however, I don’t expect the imminent increase to be overly dramatic.”

Yun forecasts the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to average at 3.7% by year-end of 2022.

Inventories - These are not seasonally adjusted. Total housing inventory at the end of November amounted to 1.11 million units, down 9.8% from October and down 13.3% from one year ago (1.28 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.1-month supply at the current sales pace, a decline from both the prior month and from one year ago.

Prices - The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in November was $353,900, up 13.9% from November 2020 ($310,800), as prices increased in each region, with the highest pace of appreciation in the South region. This marks 117 straight months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

Rates - According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate(link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.07% in November, equal to October’s rate. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.

Regionally, sales in the Northeast were flat, the rest of the regions all were up m/m. All regions down y/y. except the South.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast were flat compared to the prior month, neither climbing or falling in November, and recorded an annual rate of 760,000, which is an 11.6% decrease from November 2020. The median price in the Northeast was $372,500, up 4.7% from one year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest ticked up 0.7% to an annual rate of 1,520,000 in November, a 0.7% drop from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $260,100, a 9.0% jump from November 2020.

Existing-home sales in the South grew 2.9% in November, registering an annual rate of 2,850,000, a rise of 1.1% from one year ago. The median price in the South was $318,900, an 18.4% surge from one year prior.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 2.3%, reaching an annual rate of 1,330,000 in November, down 3.6% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $507,200, up 8.4% from November 2020.

Big TY to @calculatedrisk for the excellent charts/graphs.

To see more content, including summaries of most major U.S. economic reports and my morning and nightly updates go to Cbus Neil's Blog Posts for more recent or Sethi Associates for the full history.

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