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

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After reporting a decrease in U.S. existing home sales in the previous month, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Thursday showing existing home sales rebounded by much more than expected in the month of September.

NAR said existing home sales spiked by 7.0 percent to an annual rate of 6.29 million in September after slumping by 2.0 percent to a rate of 5.88 million in August. Economists had expected existing home sales to jump by 3.6 percent to a rate of 6.09 million.

Existing home sales reached their highest annual rate since January but were still down by 2.3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

"Some improvement in supply during prior months helped nudge up sales in September," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year."

The report showed housing inventory at the end of September totaled 1.27 million units, down 0.8 percent from 1.28 million in August and down 13.0 percent from 1.46 million a year ago.

The unsold inventory represents 2.4 months of supply at the present sales pace, down from 2.6 months in August and down from 2.7 months in September 2020.

NAR also said the median existing home price was $352,800 in September, down 1.4 percent from $357,700 in August but up 13.3 percent from $311,500 a year ago.

"As mortgage forbearance programs end, and as homebuilders ramp up production - despite the supply-chain material issues - we are likely to see more homes on the market as soon as 2022," said Yun.

Next Tuesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of September.

Economists currently expect new home sales to surge up by 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 763,000 in September after jumping by 1.5 percent to a rate of 740,000 in August.

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