By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer
Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose for the third straight month in November, driven by strong demand, low mortgage rates and intense competition for a relatively low number of properties on the market.
Existing homes sales rose 1.9% last month from October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million units, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. That was below the 6.51 million units that economists had been expecting, according to FactSet.
Sales fell 2% from November last year, when they surged as buyers who had held off during the early days of the pandemic jumped back into the market.
Through the first 11 months of this year, U.S. home sales are up 10% from the same stretch of 2020.
“2021 has been a very strong year,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.
Yun attributed the market’s strength to an improving labor market, the stock market remaining near all-time highs, rising rents and expectations that mortgage rates will rise next year.
Strong demand continues to push the cost of a home higher. The national median home price jumped to $353,900 last month, a 13.9% increase from November last year, the NAR said.
Homes also continue to sell within days of being put up for sale. Homes typically remained on the market 18 days before getting snapped up last month. In a market that’s more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers, homes typically remain on the market 45 days.
At the end of November, the inventory of unsold homes stood at just 1.11 million homes for sale, down 9.8% from October and down 13% from a year ago. At the current sales pace, that amounts to a 2.1 months’ supply, the NAR said.
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