WASHINGTON — Existing home sales rose 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted 4.79 million-unit rate in October, following a revised 4.69 million rate in September, the National Association of Realtors announced Monday.

The September sales rate was originally reported as a 4.75 million pace.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 4.75 million rate for October.

The rate is a 10.9% increase from October 2011. The sales rate has now been above the previous year levels for 16 consecutive months, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

The median sales price stood at $178,600, a slight climb from the previous month and an 11.1% gain from a year ago.

The inventory levels dipped from the previous month to 2.14 million existing homes, representing a 5.4-month supply at the current pace. Inventory was down 22% from the October 2011 level, when it was a 7.6-month supply. October 2012 represented the lowest inventory month since February 2006.

"Hurricane Sandy did have a slight impact in the October Northeast region sales," Yun said, adding that the storm's true impact will likely not be known for some time until damaged property goes through reappraisal.

Yun said the national supply level would likely continue to trend down due to seasonal factors, but that the trend could continue for several months.

"I don't see a genuine relief in inventory except in housing starts," Yun said. "I think we may have this persistent inventory shortage throughout next year."

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