According to the National Association of REALTORS®, existing-home sales retreated in October on the heels of two strong monthly gains.
Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 2.2 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million in October from 4.53 million in September, and are 25.9 percent below the 5.98 million-unit level in October 2009 when sales were surging prior to the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit.
Year-to-date there were 4.149 million existing-home sales, down 2.9 percent from 4.272 million at this time in 2009.
"The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery, and a temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, adding that recent sales pattern can be expected to continue. "Still, sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels.
"Based on current and improving job market conditions, and from attractive affordability conditions, sales should steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year."
The national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.23 percent in October from 4.35 percent in September; the rate was 4.95 percent in October 2009, according to Freddie Mac.