Total existing-home sales, which include completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, fell for the ninth straight month in October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Existing-home sales in October decreased 5.9% from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million. On a year-over-year basis, sales declined by 28.4%.

“More potential home buyers were squeezed out from qualifying for a mortgage in October as mortgage rates climbed higher," says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The impact is greater in expensive areas of the country and in markets that witnessed significant home price gains in recent years.”

Total housing inventory at the end of October was 1.22 million units, a 0.8% decline from both September and October 2021 levels. Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace, higher than both September (3.1 months) and October 2021 (2.4 months).

“Inventory levels are still tight, which is why some homes for sale are still receiving multiple offers,” Yun says. “In October, 24% of homes received over the asking price. Conversely, homes sitting on the market for more than 120 days saw prices reduced by an average of 15.8%.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $379,100, a gain of 6.6% from October 2021 as prices rose in all four analyzed regions. The year-over-year increase in October marks the 128th consecutive month of annual price increases, according to the NAR. Single-family home sales fell 6.4% on a month-over-month basis and 28.2% on a year-over-year basis to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.95 million in October. The median existing home price in October increased 6.2% on a year-over-year basis to $384,900.

According to the NAR, properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in October, an increase on a monthly and annual basis. Nearly two-thirds of homes sold during October were on the market for less than a month. First-time buyers accounted for 28% of sales in October, while all-cash sales accounted for 26% of transactions last month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.90% in October, an increase from 6.11% in September. The average commitment rate across all of 2021 was 2.96%.

“Mortgage rates have come down since peaking in mid-November, so home sales may be close to reaching the bottom in the current housing cycle,” says Yun.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 6.6% compared with September and 23% compared with October 2021 levels. Median prices in the region increased 8% on a year-over-year basis. In the Midwest, sales fell 5.3% from the previous month and 25.5% from the prior year. The median price in the region increased 5.9% compared with October 2021.

In the South, existing-home sales declined 4.8% from September and 27.2% from October 2021, while the median price increased 8% compared with the prior year. Existing-home sales in the West fell 9.1% on a month-over-month basis and 37.5% on a year-over-year basis in October. The median price in the region grew 5.3% from the prior year.

Milwaukee (+34.5%), Miami (+25.1%), and Kansas City, Missouri (+21.4%) experienced the largest year-over-year median list price growth in October, while Phoenix (+35.9 percentage points), Austin, Texas (+31.2 percentage points), and Las Vegas (+24.4 percentage points) reported the highest increase in the share of homes that had prices reduced compared with October 2021.