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Link in to Lincoln: Update on the South

Existing-home sales rose in October, a slight recovery from the declines seen in September, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The four major U.S. regions were split, with the Midwest and the South seeing growth, and the Northeast and the West both dropping in sales.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said this sales increase is encouraging and he expects added growth in the coming months. “Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” said Yun. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.”

The annual rate of sales in the South in October was 2.35 million, an increase of 7.8% from a year earlier. The median price increased 6.0% in the South, reaching $234,900 in October. Nationally, the annual rate of sales in October was 5.46 million with a median price of $270,000.

“The issuance of more housing permits is a very positive sign and a good step toward more inventory,” said Yun, citing the latest data for housing starts. “In order to better counter and even slow the increase in housing prices, home builders will have to bring additional homes on the market.”

National home prices increased 3.5% year over year in September, according to the latest home price index report from CoreLogic. The report indicated sales in Georgia were 4.3% higher in September 2019 versus a year earlier, and sales in Florida were up 3.9%.

Additionally, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) in the South reached 74 in November, up from 65 in November 2018. The national HMI reached 70 in November, up from 60 the previous year. A score above 50 reflects overall optimism.

“It is great to see home sales rise along with an increase in housing permits,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “Both home buyers and the home sellers are being rewarded by these developments, and we see that conditions remain extremely favorable for real estate investment in America.”