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Existing-Home Sales Down in September but Prices Rise

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Total housing inventory at the end of September was unchanged at 2.21 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.0-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with a 4.9-month supply in August. Unsold inventory is 1.8 percent above a year ago, when there was a 5.4-month supply.

NAR President Gary Thomas said there are far-ranging consequences from the repeating stalemates in Washington. “Just one impact of the recent government shutdown – delays in tax transcripts needed for approval of mortgage loans – put a monkey wrench in the transaction process and could negatively impact sales closings in next month’s report,” he said.

Thomas said flood insurance also is a concern. “Realtors® report that approximately 10 percent of transactions in September were located in flood zones, and that nearly one out of 10 of those transactions were delayed or canceled due to concerns over rising insurance rates.” Notably higher flood insurance rates went into effect on October 1, and could impact future sales in flood zones.

The median time on market for all homes was 50 days in September, up from 43 days in August, but much faster than the 70 days on market in September 2012. Short sales were on the market for a median of 93 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 43 days, and non-distressed homes took 49 days. Thirty-nine percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

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