After falling for four straight months earlier this year, existing home sales have now risen in four of the last five months, perhaps indicating that the housing market may be finding some stable footing as we move towards 2022.
According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales rose by 0.8% in October over September’s results. The increase, while moderate, marked the second straight month that existing home sales have risen.
Existing home sales also rose in June and July but fell back in August, meaning the increase seen in October was the fourth month out of the last five where home sales climbed. That’s a stark reversal from what was seen from February through May, when home sales fell in every month.
"Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. "Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment."
The increase in sales came at a time when total housing inventory fell by 0.8% from September. Inventory is also running 12% behind last year, but that isn’t preventing prospective homebuyers from becoming actual homebuyers.
According to the NAR report, two of the four major regions saw a monthly sales increase, one region held steady, and one region reported a drop in sales. Sales in the Northeast fell, while sales in the West stayed the same. Meanwhile, sales in the Midwest and South increased.
"Among some of the workforce, there is an ongoing trend of flexibility to work anywhere, and this has contributed to an increase in sales in some parts of the country," Yun said. "Record-high stock markets and all-time high home prices have worked to significantly raise total consumer wealth and, when coupled with extended remote work flexibility, elevated housing demand in vacation regions."
According to the report, properties typically remained on the market for 18 days in October, a slight increase from the 17 days reported in September.
Beyond that, 82% of homes sold in October 2021 were on the market for less than a month. That’s a slight decrease from September, when 86% of homes were on the market for less than a month.