Existing home sales in the U.S. declined sharply in November, falling 10.5% to a 19-month low. The report, released by the National Association of Realtors, showed that existing home sales reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.76 million units, down from 5.32 million units in October.
Economists have predicted that home sales will rise to 5.35 million units in November.
A variety of factors may have contributed to the sales decline, but sparse inventory and affordability concerns are preventing a large number of buyers from taking the plunge. In November, the median sales price for existing home in the United States was $220,300. That figure represents a 6.3% increase from November 2014. Existing home inventory also dropped 3.3% between October and November to 2.04 million.
New regulations designed to simplify paperwork for home purchases may have also affected sales. Lenders and closing companies appear to be more cautious about using the new paperwork scheme, which was introduced in October.
All four of the major regions in the United States saw a decline in sales for the month of November. Sales were down 13.9% in the West, 15.4% in the Midwest, 6.2% in the South, and 9.2% in the Northeast.