It wasn’t a great month of November for the housing market.
Existing-home sales dropped off considerably (10.5%) last month to the slowest pace (4.76 million) in 19 months (April 2014; 4.75 million). Furthermore, with last month’s decline, existing-home sales are now 3.8% below a year ago (4.95 million).
The good news? According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, although affordability issues continue to hold back sales, the primary reason for the steep decline in existing-home sales could be an anomaly as the industry adjusts to the new Know Before You Owe rule.
Although Realtors® are adjusting accordingly to the Know Before You Owe initiative, the main takeaway so far has been the need for longer closing times. According to NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, 47% of respondents in November reported that they are experiencing a longer time to close compared to a year ago, up from 37% in October. As a result, it’s likely the longer timeframes pushed a latter portion of would-be November transactions into December.
Check out the charts below for more details from today’s release: