ME home sales on track for record high year

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Home sales south of the border increased in number more than expected in November, hitting their highest level in nearly 11 years, the latest indication that housing in the USA was regaining momentum after almost stalling this year.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased for the second straight month to 3.92 percent in November from 3.90 percent in October, according to Freddie Mac. Sales remain on track to finish slightly ahead of the 2016 record and we project the median sales price to show growth of 5.5 to six percent."The November 2017 sales total of 10,719 represents a decrease of 2.5 percent from the November 2016 record total of 10,991". The median indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

"It is highly likely that existing sales would have been much stronger in 2017 if supply had been more abundant", said Nationwide chief economist David Berson.

The strong demand for buying homes is a sign of an increasingly vibrant economy after a steady, eight-year expansion. Sales rose 6.7 percent in the Northeast and jumped 8.4 percent in the Midwest.

Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes rose 3.2 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in November, which is down from 32 percent in both October and a year ago, the NAR report said.

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NAR said existing home sales soared by 5.6% to an annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October.

The government reported on Tuesday that groundbreaking on single-family homes, which account for the largest share of the housing market, jumped 5.3 percent in November to the highest level since September 2007.

Total housing inventory at the end of November dropped 7.2 percent, to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, NAR said.

Existing-home sales moved higher for the third straight month in November and reached their strongest pace in nearly 11 years, while new construction of single family homes surged to a 10-year high, according to two new reports. A 6 month to 6.5 month supply is considered to be a balanced market.

Realtors estimate that the housing starts and completions rates need to be in a range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million units per month to plug the inventory gap.

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