Home Sales
US Existing Home Sales Surge in October Crossing Year-Over-Year GainsReuters

Existing home sales in the United States rose for the second consecutive month in October 2014, crossing year-over-year gains for the first time, according to The National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total existing homes sales edged up 1.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis to 5.26 million in October. The figure is up 2.5 percent from a year ago, the first time that sales rose on an annual basis.

The report also found that all-cash sales made up for 27 percent of all the transactions, which shows that wealthy investors may be back in the market. About 15 percent of the home purchases were made by individual investors. First-time home buyers continued to underperform accounting for just 29 percent of the total transactions.

October's existing home sales report beat analyst expectations. Experts polled by Reuters predicted sales to fall to 5.16 million units from September's upward revised 5.18 million units.

"If this pace can be maintained for the next 12 months, it will be a very solid year for realtors," Yun was quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

NAR executives attributed the strong report to the improving job scenario and employment opportunities. Strong inventory and stable price growth also contributed to the positve October report.

According to NAR's report, inventory of unsold homes was 5.2 percent above a year ago and there were 2.11 million homes available for sale. The rate of home price increase has also stabilized with costs going up 5.1 percent on an annual basis for the year ending August. In July, the price increase was 5.6 percent.

"It's all encouraging. All the data are lining up on the strong side, indicating the economy is accelerating," Kathleen Bostjancic, a financial-market economist at Oxford Economics in New York was quoted by Bloomberg.

The housing market has been improving steadily after the first few cold months of 2014. While many experts attributed low mortgages and slow price growth for the improvement, the economy and the employment sector has a major role in the sector's development.

According to the US Labor department, jobless claims dropped by 2000 to 291,000 for the week ended Nov. 15. As more people get employed and a steady source of income starts, people inch closer to homeownership, which in turn boosts sales.

In fact, experts think that the holiday season, which is usually an off period for the housing market, will be a good time to wrap a home sale.

"Even just a few years ago, January was often a slow month as far as buyers were concerned, but we've noticed a real change in the last year or two. Once the New Year begins, buyers start calling and emailing. They want back in the market. As a result, I'm urging sellers not to take their home off the market during the holidays. That way, their home is ready to show, not only through the holidays but immediately afterwards," Kat Becker of the Becker Group at RE/MAX Advantage Realty of Antioch, Ill. said in a statement.