According to the National Association of Realtors, despite median prices continuing to show strong year-over-year growth, the number of existing-home sales fell in the month of November.
Total existing-home sales, defined as completed transactions including single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops decreased by 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.90 million last month. According the NAR, this is the first time that sales have been below year-ago levels in 29 months.
Higher interest rates, limited inventory, and restrictive credit may be contributing to the drop in sales, according the Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR. By the NAR’s account, total housing inventory at the end of last month had decreased by 0.9%, and the median time on the market for all homes increased by 4 days, from 54 in October to 58.
In spite of limited inventory, those seeking to return to home ownership after foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy, should keep in mind that beginning next year, the Qualified Mortgage Rule is set to take effect and FHA loan limits are scheduled to drop. In addition, interest rates are only expected to rise and home prices along with them. Even if you’re waiting to purchase until after the holidays, it may be in your best interest to start the process of getting fully qualified today, before these new regulations take effect.
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