Home Sales Slip May Not Be What It Seems

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Sales of previously owned homes fell in November, according to new estimates released by the National Association or Realtors. The decline put sales 3.8 percent below last November’s level, marking the first time since September 2014 that existing home sales dropped year-over-year. Despite the decline, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said decreasing sales may have more to do with new industry regulations than disappearing demand. “Sparse inventory and affordability issues continue to impede a large pool of buyers’ ability to buy, which is holding back sales,” Yun said. “However, signed contracts have remained mostly steady in recent months, and properties sold faster in November. Therefore it’s highly possible the stark sales decline wasn’t because of sudden, withering demand.” According to Yun, the primary reason for the sharp drop in November sales is the Know Before You Owe rule, which has led to longer closing times. In fact, 47 percent of Realtors responding to the NAR’s most recent Realtor Confidence Index said they were experiencing longer closing times compared to a year ago. If closing times have increased, a portion of the transactions that normally would’ve closed in November may now register as December sales. More  here.

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