December Monthly Market Update

Note: November 2020 data below are the most recent released by the National Association of Realtors.

Existing-home sales fell in November, snapping a five-month streak of month-over-month gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions either took a step back or held steady in terms of their respective month-over-month status, but each of the four areas experienced significant year-over-year growth.

Total existing-home sales (transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) decreased 2.5% from October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November. However, sales in total rose year-over-year, up 25.8% from a year ago (5.32 million in November 2019).

 

National Association of Realtors November 2020 Data

"Home sales in November took a marginal step back, but sales for all of 2020 are already on pace to surpass last year's levels," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it's amazing that the housing sector is outperforming expectations."
 
"Circumstances are far from being back to the pre-pandemic normal," he said. "However, the latest stimulus package and with the vaccine distribution underway, and a very strong demand for homeownership still prevalent, robust growth is forthcoming for 2021."

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $310,800, up 14.6% from November 2019 ($271,300), as prices increased in every region. November's national price increase marks 105 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of November totaled 1.28 million units, down 9.9% from October and down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.5 months in October and down from the 3.7-month figure recorded in November 2019.

Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in November, seasonally even with October and down from 38 days in November 2019. Seventy-three percent of homes sold in November 2020 were on the market for less than a month.

"The positive momentum that home sellers are seeing will carry on well into the new year," Yun predicted, citing low mortgage rates and remote-work flexibilities.

"Housing affordability, which had greatly benefitted from falling mortgage rates, are now being challenged due to record-high home prices," Yun said. "That could place strain on some potential consumers, particularly first-time buyers."

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in November, equal to the percentage seen in both October 2020 and November 2019. NAR's 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 31%.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in November, identical to the share recorded in October 2020 and a small decline from 16% in November 2019. All-cash sales accounted for 20% of transactions in November, up from 19% in October but unchanged from November 2019.

"While we still face economic and health challenges ahead, I have zero doubt that the nation will continue to recover from this pandemic," said NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and broker/owner of Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty. "Whether it's through volunteering or philanthropy, or helping a given buyer secure that dream home, Realtors® have stepped up in a major way and we will continue with those efforts in 2021 and beyond."
 
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 2.77% in November, down from 2.83% in October. The average commitment rate across all of 2019 was 3.94%.

 

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