Sales of existing homes rose 4% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors, which is revising its benchmarks for sales and inventory data since 2007.
The trade group said sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.42 million units from 4.25 million in October.
NAR said November existing home sales were 12.2% higher than 3.94 million a year ago.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, said existing home sales reached a 10-month high in November, as people are taking advantage of a buyer’s market. Yun said the current pace is 34% higher than the middle of 2010, and “a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing.”
Earlier Wednesday, CoreLogic  said home prices across the country are dropping as the glut of distressed properties continues to plague the real estate economy.
Potential homeowners also have access to the lowest mortgage interest rates in 40 years. Freddie Mac recently reported the average 30-year, fixed rate fell to 3.94% from 3.99% a week earlier and 4.83% a year ago.
“With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR’s housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home,” according to Moe Veissi, president of the trade group and broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami.
NAR said the median price of all homes sold in November was $164,200, down 3.5% from a year earlier. Sales of distressed properties accounted for 29% of all sales last month, which is up slightly from October and down from one-third of all sales a year earlier.
“With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR’s housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home,” according to Moe Veissi, president of the trade group and broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami.
NAR also revised benchmarks on existing home sales for the past four years. There were 4.19 million existing homes in 2010, which is down 14.6% from prior estimates of more than 4.9 million sales last year. The trade group lowered sales and inventory by 14.3% for 2007 through 2010, and expects the change to impact upcoming GDP revisions by the federal government.
The trade group said the housing inventory at Nov. 30 decreased to 2.58 million existing homes for sale, representing a seven-month supply, which is down from 7.7-months supply at Oct. 31.
“Since setting a record of 4.04 million in July 2007, inventories have trended down and supplies are moving close to price stabilization levels,” Yun said.
Single-family homes sales increased 4.5% in November to an annual rate of 3.95 million from 3.78 million a month prior and rose 13% from 3.5 million a year earlier. The median price of an existing single-family home dipped 0.2% to $164,100 in November.
Free Home Market report