Existing home sales sink for ninth straight month

Mortgage rates spur longest decline on record: NAR

Home sales plummet in October
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Existing home sales fell again in October, marking the ninth straight month of decline — the longest slide on record.

Overall, October sales fell 28 percent from a year earlier, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. Sales of previously owned homes declined 6 percent in October from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million, the weakest rate since May 2020.

Existing-home sales have fallen approximately 32 percent from their recent peak in January.

Sales have tanked as the Federal Reserve’s set off a series of interest rate hikes aimed at lowering inflation. Homebuyers have stepped away from the market, while surging interest rates deterred homeowners from selling and giving up their lower rates.

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The lack of new homes on the market has kept prices from dropping despite home sales declining. The median existing-home price rose almost 7 percent in October from a year earlier to $379,100, according to NAR.

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(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
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The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 6.61 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac. That’s down from 7.08 percent a week ago, which had been the highest rate in more than a decade. A year earlier, rates were at just 3.1 percent.

High mortgage rates mean cash buyers have the upper hand, cutting down on competition and boosting their chances at a discount. About 26 percent of October existing-home sales were purchased in cash, up from 24 percent in the same month a year ago, according to NAR.