Existing Home Sales Increase in October
 
Along with the great news of positive results in builder confidence, existing home sales rise in October, even with the regional impact of Hurricane Sandy. Existing-home sales rose by 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.7 million, compared to 4.69 million in September this year and 10.9% increase from the 4.32 million-unit in October last year.
 
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said there was some impact from Hurricane Sandy. "Home sales continue to trend up and most October transactions were completed by the time the storm hit, but the growing demand with limited inventory is pressuring home prices in much of the country," he said. "We expect an impact on Northeastern home sales in the coming months from a pause and delays in storm- impacted regions.”
 
Nationally, the median of existing home prices in October for all housing type is $178,600 which is up from last year by 11.1%.
 
"Rising home prices have already resulted in a $760 billion growth in home equity during the past year," Yun said. "Given that each percentage point of price appreciation translates into an additional $190 billion in home equity, we could see close to a $1 trillion gain next year." 
 
Short sales and Foreclosures contributed to 24% of October's total sales. Total Housing Inventory decreased by 1.4% to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale. October has 5.4-month supply, the lowest housing supply since February of 2006 when it was 5.2 month. Listed inventory is 21.9 percent below a year ago when there was a 7.6-month supply. The median time on the market was 71 days, down 26.0% from 96 days year over year. 32% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month and 20% were on the market for six months or longer. First time buyers contributed to 31% of purchases in October as compared to 32% in September and 34 percent in October last year. All cash sales have 29% of the transactions in October, a slight increase from September's 28% and in the same rate with October 2011. The national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.38 percent in October from 3.47 percent in September; the rate was 4.07 percent in October 2011.
 
NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, California, said record low mortgage interest rates shouldn't be taken for granted. "Even with rising home prices, we'll continue to see favorable housing affordability conditions over the coming year, but they won't last forever," he said.  Inflationary pressures are expected to build during the next two years. As a result, mortgage interest rates will also rise with inflation. Buyers who are currently held back by tight mortgage credit standards should work to improve their credit scores so they'll be able to qualify for a mortgage while conditions are still favorable."
 
With stringent mortgage underwriting standards, Thomas said it's very important to understand credit issues and how credit scores work. "Realtors ® are a good source to learn about lenders with more reasonable terms and ways to increase your likelihood of obtaining safe and sound financing. Buyers can also visit NAR's consumer website, Houselogic.com, and search for 'credit score.'"
 
Source: http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2012/10/existing-home-sales-rise-in-october-with-ongoing-
price-and-equity-gains