U.S. Existing-Home Sales Reached its Highest Level Since 2007

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that the U.S. existing-home sales increased 0.7% from October to $5.61 million in November, which was the highest level since February 2007.

Compared to the same period last year, the sales of previously owned homes rose 15.4%, which was boosted by the one-off plunge in sales in November 2015 when NAR blamed that new federal mortgages rules delayed closings. Compared to the analysts’ estimates of $5.54 million, the number in November beat the expectations.

According to NAR, 32% of sales in November are from first-time home buyers, 21% sales were all-cash deals, and 6% of November sales were distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales). The median sales price jumped 6.8% from the same period last year to $234,900, and inventory of available properties declined 9.3% to $1.85 million.

According to the Commerce Department, compared to the same period last year, permits issued for new housing units rose 1.1% by November 2016, which was boosted by the solid growth for single-family homes, which increased 12.7% by October 2016, even though the weakness in the multifamily homes.

However, the existing-home markets are under much pressure due to the rising prices, tight inventory and the recent rise in mortgage rates.

“Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017,” Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the Realtors group, said in the statement. “Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country.”

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