The pace of exising home sales plunged 6.1% in November to an annualized rate of 4.93 million units.

This was much worse than expected.

Economists had forecast the pace of sales declined 1.1% to 5.20 million units.

“Overall, the weaker existing home sales report suggests that the housing market remains on a somewhat rocky footing as data remains quite choppy,” TD Securities Gennadiy Goldberg said. “We suspect that the recent decline in mortgage rates could help provide a near-term boost to activity over the coming months, but believe that further housing market improvement is likely to remain quite gradual, remaining a source of concern for the Fed. “

“Fewer people bought homes last month despite interest rates being at their lowest levels of the year,” said the NAR’s Lawrence Yun. “The stock market swings in October may have impacted some consumers’ psyche and therefore led to fewer November closings. Furthermore, rising home values are causing more investors to retreat from the market.”

The median existing home sales price was $US205,300 during the month, up 5.0% from a year ago.

The inventory of existing homes available for sale fell to 2.09 million, which represents a 5.1 month supply.

Here’s some colour regarding the mix of sales:

Single-family home sales dropped 6.3 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million in November from 4.62 million in October, but remain 2.4 per cent above the 4.23 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $US206,200 in November, up 5.6 per cent from November 2013.

Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 4.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in November from 630,000 in October, and are unchanged from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $US199,000 in November, which is 1.2 per cent higher than a year ago.

The pace of sales fell for all regions covered by the NAR: the Northeast fell 4.2%, the Midwest fell 8.0%, the South fell 3.2%, and the West fell 9.6%.

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