November existing home sales fall 2.5%, following record summer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The market for existing homes cooled slightly in November, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday, after climbing through the late spring, summer and early fall despite the pandemic.

Existing home sales fell 2.5% between October and November on a seasonally adjusted basis to 6.69 million annualized units. That’s the first decline in that figure since May, when housing market activity started recovering from the shutdowns of March and April due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Once the lockdowns were lifted, the housing market took off, fueled by record low mortgage rates that helped with home affordability. Thousands of families impacted by the stay-at-home orders sought out homes that were better attuned for working at home. Suburbs were among the biggest beneficiaries.

Before the decline, existing home sales were on a pace not seen in 15 years.

Sales of existing homes are still up 25.8% from a year earlier, the trade association said. The average sale price of a home was $310.800 in November, up 14.6% from a year earlier, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

The average length of time a home is on the market remained at 21 days, the same as October. That length of time is down from 38 days a year earlier, a sign that supply issues continue to impact both home prices and sales.