IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. home and condominium sales held steady an an annual rate of more than 5 million in November, online marketplace RealtyTrac reported Friday.
The annual rate of sales, at an estimated 5,146,565 in November, was a less than 1 percent increase above October's revised rate, the firm said.
The annual rate of sales fell in 18 states from October to November and was down in four states compared to November 2012, RealtyTrac said.
Sales were down 14 percent in California, 12 percent in Arizona, 9 percent in Nevada and 4 percent in Rhode Island on an annualized basis compared to November 2012, the firm said.
Among local markets, the annual rate of sales in November was down in 14 of the largest 50 metropolitan areas, including seven markets in California and two in Arizona and New York.
The median price for all residential properties was $169,000 in November, up 1 percent from October and 7 percent from November 2012.
For properties tangled up by foreclosure, the median price in November was $110,500. For properties considered "non-distressed," the median price was $181,500 in the month.
Many of the buyers are considered to be institutional buyers, who purchase 10 or more properties in the past 12 months, and that has put a pinch on the number of properties on the market, RealtyTrac said.
"The housing market recovery continued to be driven by investors and other cash purchasers in November," said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president.
"Lenders are taking advantage of this environment to unload more of their bank-owned inventory and in-foreclosure inventory at the foreclosure auction," he said. "But as the backlog of distressed inventory available dries up in many of the markets with the most efficient foreclosure processes -- namely California, Arizona and Nevada, with Georgia not far behind -- overall sales volume is declining and will continue to do so until more non-distressed sellers enter the market," he said.