Sales of existing homes hit highest level in almost 11 years

Sales of existing homes hit highest level in almost 11 years

Sales rose 11.46 percent in November over the same month past year, with Realtors selling 1,576 homes last month, according to Maine Listings, a statewide multiple listing service and a subsidiary of the Maine Association of Realtors. This is consistent with the fall in inventories, which dropped lower to 1.72 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, the lowest level since the inception of the series.

Berson said he expects existing sales to climb 1.6 percent to 5.54 million units this year, which would be the strongest pace since 2006. This marks the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains.

The strong demand for buying homes is a sign of an increasingly vibrant economy after a steady, eight-year expansion.

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On the surge last month, he said, "Presumably, part of this leap in sales is a catch-up after closings were delayed by the hurricanes, but the lagged mortgage applications numbers now suggest sales will rise even further in the early part of next year, perhaps reaching six million", he said in a client note.

Looking at other details in the report, total months of supply dropped to 3.4, lowest in the history of the series dating back to 1999. Yet the demand has done little to resolve an increasing vulnerability of the US real estate market as the number of listings has been declining on a yearly basis for two-and-a-half years.

The statewide median sales price grew by 5.8 percent in November compared to last November.

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On tax reform, NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall said following congressional clearance of the tax overhaul package that there is good news for homeowners can because they can count on the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction.

"As evidenced by a subdued level of first-time buyers and increased share of cash buyers, move-up buyers with considerable downpayments and those with cash made up a bulk of the sales activity last month", Yun said. Regionally, sales in the Northeast were up 6.7 percent and the regional median price rose 4 percent to $273,600.

With supply tightening, the median house price increased 5.8 percent from a year ago to $248,000 in November.

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At November's sales pace, it would take a record low 3.4 months to exhaust the current inventory, down from 3.9 months in October. The median sales price was up 4.24 percent to $200,000.

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