For the first time this year, total home sales in the Wichita area fell compared to the same month of 2012, according to the October report from the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service.
The report, released Thursday, said 712 new and existing homes were sold in October, compared with 757 in the same month a year ago.
The decline came from sales of existing homes; 662 units were sold, down from 717 existing homes that sold in October 2012.
New home sales, however, increased to 50 units sold in October compared with 40 in the same month a year ago, the report said.
The numbers of new and existing homes sold in 2013 remain substantially higher than a year ago: 7,615 homes sold in the first 10 months of 2013 versus 6,869 in the same period in 2012.
John McKenzie, broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate, said he wasn’t surprised by the October decline. He said he expected it, especially with sales of existing homes, because of the federal government shutdown in the first half of October. McKenzie said that slowed mortgage loan processing and approvals, especially for Veterans Affairs and Federal Housing Administration loans.
“It was an artificial impact created by our own government,” McKenzie said.
He thinks the effects of the shutdown will show up in November sales figures, too.
“My prediction is at the end of the year we will still have a pretty good year” in area home sales, McKenzie said.
Gary Walker, vice president of J.P. Weigand & Sons’ residential division, said he’s not sure that just one thing contributed to lower October sales. The shutdown, he said, was a factor, but so, too, was the typical fall and winter slowdown and an “unusually” strong fourth quarter of home sales last year.
“We’ve got so many different considerations here,” he said.
And like McKenzie, he thinks 2013 as a whole will be one of the better years for area home sales.
“Regardless, this is still going to turn out to be one of the best years we’ve had since 2008,” Walker said.
Also lower was the supply of existing homes for sale, the report said. There was 4.8 months of supply of existing homes compared with 5 months in October 2012. The supply of new homes was barely lower year over year: 6.1 months in October compared with 6.2 months in October 2012.
Five to six months of housing inventory is considered a balanced market, while inventory less than five months is considered a seller’s market.