WASHINGTON — Existing home sales rose 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted 5.04 million-unit rate in November, following a revised 4.76 million rate in October, the National Association of Realtors announced Thursday.
The October sales rate was originally reported as a 4.79 million pace.
The sales pace was solidly above the estimate of economists polled by Thomson Reuters. They predicted a 4.85 million rate for November.
The rate is a 14.5% increase from November 2011. Sales increased across all geographical regions of the U.S. and the sales rate has now been above the previous year levels for 17 consecutive months, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.
The median sales price stood at $180,600, a 2.1% climb from the previous month and a 10.1% gain from a year ago.
The inventory levels dipped from the previous month to 2.03 million existing homes, representing a 4.8-month supply at the current pace. Inventory was down 23% from the November 2011 level, when it was a 7.1-month supply.
"Hurricane Sandy had a very modest negative impact," Yun said, adding that he expected sales would continue to see a modest bump in the coming months during recovery from the superstorm. Yun said he expected large cash reserves at lender banks to contribute to an easing of constrictions associated with purchases, such as appraisals.
The year 2012 remains on pace to be the strongest sales year since 2007, Yun said.