The US housing market is in much better shape than we thought.

The pace of existing home sales unexpectedly climbed 1.5% in October to 5.26 million units.

Economists had forecast a 0.4% decline to 5.15 million.

“Sales activity in October reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory and stabilizing price growth,” the NAR’s Lawrence Yun said. “Furthermore, the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases.”

“Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 2.6% to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace — the lowest since March (also 5.1 months),” the NAR noted. “Unsold inventory is now 5.2% higher than a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.”

The median existing-home price was $US208,300, up 5.5% from a year ago.

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