November 23 - The housing market as reflected in existing home sales in October has yet to regain solid footing that would indicate a sustained recovery has started.
Existing home sales showed strong gains in August and again in September when sales jumped 10% month over month. But sales fell back 2.2% last month, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.
October's annual sales rate was 4.43 million, down from 4.53 million in September and nearly 26% below sales of one year ago, which were surging in advance of the original deadline for first-time buyer tax credits. Year-to-date, sales are down 2.9% from the comparable period last year.
Supply on the market was 10.5 months in October, two months less than the recent high in July.
The median existing home price fell for a fourth consecutive month to $170,500.
"Sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Based on current and improving job market conditions, and from attractive affordability conditions, sales should steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year," he added.