October existing-home sales decrease slightly

Existing-home sales have decreased slightly in October, although experts assert that the drop is to be expected.

Existing-home sales have decreased slightly in October, although experts assert that the drop is to be expected.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a tight housing inventory has driven up prices year-over-year, and sales ticked down for the second month in a row.

"The erosion in buying power is dampening home sales," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Moreover, low inventory is holding back sales while at the same time pushing up home prices in most of the country. More new home construction is needed to help relieve the inventory pressure and moderate price gains."

Based on NAR data, total existing-home sales declined 3.2 percent from September to October. However, this figure is still more than 6 percent higher than it was during the same time in 2012.

Accounting for foreclosed houses and short sales, distressed properties combined for 14 percent of the month's total volume, NAR reported. Additionally, a smaller housing inventory appears responsible for the 12.8 percent year-over-year uptick in median existing-home price, at $199,500 for the month.

Residential vacancies on the rise
National vacancy rates have been on the rise for both rental and homeowner housing, according to recent information from the Department of Commerce's Census Bureau.

In total, the third quarter homeowner vacancy rate increased 1.9 percent compared to the same time in 2012, the Census Bureau reported. Overall, this figure has remained relatively stable over the past several years. 

The homeownership rate was 65.3 percent for the third quarter, only a marginal decrease from 2012's 65.5 percent. Based on region, the Midwest had the highest rate - slightly below 70 percent - while the lowest belonged to the West, at 59.5 percent.

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