The United States housing market continues to grow, as the national median home price increased over the past month, and the Midwest sees the biggest increase in sales, The Associated Press reported.

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US home sales are increasing because flexible demand is driving the cost of a home higher. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median home value rose to $353,900 last month, a 13.1 percent increase from October last year.

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“The housing market seems to have remained strong, resilient and one might even say, [had] “Something like a mini-surge, like what we saw last year, isn’t that big,” said Lawrence Yoon, NAR’s chief economist.

While the market grew overall, sales were mixed by region. Sales rose 4.2 percent in the Midwest and 0.4 percent in the South, as sales fell 2.6 percent in the Northeast last month and were flat in the West. Sales across the country fell 5.8 percent from October last year when they peaked after a summer boom and a drop in buyers.

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Homes continue to sell within a few days of being placed on the markets, typically remaining on the market for 18 days before being purchased the previous month. This typically follows a six-month run of homes sold after only 117 days on the market.

NAR said 82 per cent of the homes sold in October were in the market for less than a month.

US home sales rose in October, marking their strongest annual pace since January, with current home sales rising 0.8 percent from September to an annualized rate of 6.34 million units, an estimated 6.18 increase from what economists had expected, NAR. According to.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Yun said continued job growth, a stock market at all-time highs and rising, but still historically low mortgage rates are helping to drive home sales.

During the first 10 months of the year, home sales are up 11 percent over the previous year and 13 percent higher than the same stretch in 2019.

“We’re moving smoothly for an annual total of at least 6 million this year, which would be the best performance in 15 years,” Yoon said.

Home sales have been healthy for much of this year, driven by a continued desire among many people for more space to wait out the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage rates are also historically low, although they have begun to creep higher in recent weeks.

The average rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage was 3.1 percent last week, up from 2.98 percent the previous week. The average rate a year ago was 2.72 per cent. This upward trend is prompting some potential homeowners to act more quickly.

At the end of October, the list of unsold homes stood at just 1.25 million homes for sale, down 0.8 percent from September and 12 percent from a year earlier. At current selling pace, this equates to 2.4 months’ supply, NAR said.

Despite historically low interest rates, the lack of supply combined with rising home prices has left many buyers frustrated, especially those shopping for homes at the more affordable end of the market.

Among homes priced at $150,000 or less, sales declined 24 percent last month, reflecting a lack of available properties in that price range. Home sales in the $250,000 to $500,000 range fell 2 percent. NAR said most of October’s home sales growth was concentrated among properties that sold for $750,000 and above.

The share of first-time buyers in homes sold last month was 29 per cent, up from 28 per cent in September. NAR said they did 32 per cent of sales in October last year.

Meanwhile, investors sold 17 per cent last month, up from 13 per cent in September and 14 per cent in October last year. NAR said transactions accounted for 24 per cent of all cash sales last month. This is up from 23 per cent in September and 19 per cent in October of 2020.