Last week was short, but still managed to squeeze in two reports on our favorite topic. Wednesday’s New Home Sales for October were down 8.1% from the month before, at an annual rate of 283,000. A slight upward move in these numbers had been forecast. The inventory of new homes edged up to 8.6 months, higher than the 6 month’s supply level everyone would like to see.

But Tuesday, October Existing Home Sales came in with a way smaller decline – down just 2.2% from September and in line with expectations. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported the annual sales rate at 4.43 million homes. Actual sales, year to date, are 4.15 million, down 2.9% from the same period a year ago.

The NAR’s chief economist feels that sales activity appears to be “off the bottom and attempting to settle into normal, sustainable levels.” He expects steady improvement to levels “above 5 million by spring of next year.” The median existing home price edged down a little to $170,500 and is down only 0.9% from a year ago. The months’ supply of existing homes dipped to 10.5 from September’s 10.6 reading, as inventories declined overall.

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