Existing home sales in the United States increased in November 2011 and are above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR also released benchmark revisions to its historic existing-home sales.
November existing-home sales - completed transactions of single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops - increased 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November, up from 4.25 million in October. November is up 12.2% from the 3.94 million-unit pace of November 2010.
"Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34% above the cyclical low point in mid-2010 - a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans.”
Freddie Mac reported that the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell in November 2011 to a record low 3.99%, down from 4.07% in October. The rate in November 2010 was 4.30%. Records date back to 1971.
A high contract failure rate is still holding back a broader sales recovery, NAR said. Contract failures were reported by 33% of NAR members in November – the same as in October and far more than 9% one year ago.
Historic Existing Home Sales Statistics Revised
The benchmark revisions to historic existing-home sales show that in 2010 there were 4,190,000 existing-home sales - a 14.6% revision from the previous estimate of 4,908,000 sales.
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