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U.S. Existing Home Sales Spike Much More Than Expected In September

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Reflecting record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Thursday showing a much bigger than expected spike in U.S. existing home sales in the month of September.

NAR said existing home sales soared by 9.4 percent to an annual rate of 6.54 million in September after jumping by 2 percent to a revised rate of 5.98 million in August.

Economists had expected existing home sales to surge up by 5.0 percent to a rate of 6.30 million from the 6.00 million originally reported for the previous month.

"Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.

He added, "I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home."

The report said the median existing home price for all housing types was $311,800, in September, up 0.5 percent from $310.400 in August and up 14.8 percent from $271,500 a year ago.

Housing inventory at the end of September totaled 1.47 million units, down 1.3 percent from August and down 19.2 percent from September of 2019.

The unsold inventory represents 2.7 months of supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.0 months in August and down from 4.0 months a year ago.

"There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low," Yun said. "To their credit, we have seen some homebuilders move to ramp up supply, but a need for even more production still exists."

NAR also said single-family home sales spiked by 9.7 percent to a rate of 5.87 million in September, while existing condominium and co-op sales jumped by 6.3 percent to a rate of 670,000.

Next Monday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on new home sales in the month of September.

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