US existing home sales jump to 11-year high

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Existing home sales in the States jumped past forecasts last month, rising by the most in almost 11 years amid strong gains in all regions outside of the West. November's price increase marks the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains with Yun noting that price appreciation is happening too fast in a lot of markets.

Sales in the West declined 2.3 percent.

The report also said the median existing home price in November was USD248,000, up 5.8% from the same month a year ago. In the meantime, median home prices rose higher. Still, similar to this spring, when sales consistently beat forecasts despite very low inventory, we could be seeing shifting seasonal home shopping patterns - buyers determined to make a deal could be staying on the market well into the autumn and winter months.

The strong demand for buying homes is a sign of an increasingly vibrant economy after a steady, eight-year expansion. All-cash sales rose marginally, to 22 percent, up from 20 percent in October.

NAR said existing home sales soared by 5.6% to an annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October.

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The median price of existing homes sold in November was $248,000 (non-seasonally adjusted), up 5.8 percent from a year ago. "As evidenced by a subdued level of first-time buyers and increased share of cash buyers, move-up buyers with considerable down payments and those with cash made up a bulk of the sales activity last month".

At the current sales pace, inventories represented a supply of 3.6 months, down from four months a year ago.

The government reported on Tuesday that groundbreaking on single-family homes, which account for the largest share of the housing market, jumped 5.3 percent in November to the highest level since September 2007. The rate of 6 to 6.5 months is considered to be a balanced market.

Realtors estimate that the housing starts and completions rates need to be in a range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million units per month to plug the inventory gap.

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