Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Home sales rise 5.6% in November

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Existing home sales picked up steam in November, though they are still down nearly 30% from this time last year.

Sales of previously-owned homes jumped 5.6% in November to an annual rate of 4.68 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. The rate was down 27.9% from 12 months earlier, when a homebuyer tax credit helped lift sales to a two-year high of 6.49 million.

The report came in slightly better than expected. A consensus of experts surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast an annualized sales rate of 4.65 million.

Despite low home prices and mortgage rates, the housing market has continued to struggle through the recovery. Existing home sales slowed in October, following two straight months of gains. But those gains came after home sales sank 27% in July, hitting the lowest levels in 15 years.

"This report doesn't necessarily mean the housing market is getting better," said economist John Canally of LPL Financial. "We've taken a couple steps forward, one step back, and this is a step forward, but next month might be another step back -- these things tend to go in fits and starts."

But Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, is hopeful that homebuyers will take advantage of improving affordability.

"The relationship recently between mortgage interest rates, home prices and family income has been the most favorable on record for buying a home since we started measuring in 1970," he said. "Therefore, the market is recovering and we should trend up to a healthy, sustainable level in 2011."

The inventory of homes on the market dropped 4% in November to 3.71 million units. Canally said inventories are well below their peak, but a level around 2.2 million units is considered healthy.

The median price of all existing homes sold during November was $170,600, up a modest 0.4% from a year ago. About two-thirds of homes sold during the month were in foreclosure, NAR said.

"The fact home prices went up is a good sign and shows that the housing market is continuing a slow recovery," said Canally. "But home prices are still bouncing along the bottom."

While Canally said the housing market has a long way to go on its road to recovery, he agreed with Yun that sales are likely to gradually improve in the coming year.

"Banks still aren't willing to lend, but we're working down that inventory, the job market is getting better and affordability is at an all-time high," he said. "And now that we're six months removed from the homebuyer tax credit there's nothing pushing the market one way or another, so we'll get a gradual recovery -- no boom and no bust." To top of page


Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.94%4.01%
15 yr fixed3.13%3.14%
5/1 ARM3.14%3.15%
30 yr refi3.95%4.05%
15 yr refi3.20%3.16%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in: New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,821.76 11.44 0.05%
Nasdaq 5,845.31 9.80 0.17%
S&P 500 2,367.34 3.53 0.15%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.07 -2.97%
Data as of 12:35am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.23 -0.35 -1.42%
Spectra Energy Corp 40.68 -0.32 -0.78%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.66 -0.09 -1.57%
Hewlett Packard Ente... 22.96 -1.70 -6.89%
Ford Motor Co 12.47 -0.09 -0.72%
Data as of Feb 24

Sections

Baltimore Orioles executive John Angelos said he would want President Trump to apologize for all the offensive comments he's made before he's invited to throw out the first pitch at Camden Yards. More

A draft of the House Republicans' bill to repeal Obamacare would replace its subsidies with less generous tax credits, increase the amount insurers could charge older Americans and effectively eliminate Medicaid for low-income adults. More

Data Refuge collects federal data about climate change in order to preserve the information and keep it publicly accessible. More