Existing homes sales down 3.4% to a seasonally annual adjusted rate of 5.36% million units that's a miss! Wall Street was looking for a drop of 2.7% so much wider than expected. We are still up 3.9% year over year on home sales. Real Estate professionals believe the West was the hardest hit. They were down 8.7% that's due to a really rough affordability out in California and parts of the West right now.
Inventory is down 4.5% year over year just 2.4 millions homes for sale. Usually this time of year we start to see the inventory increasing as the sales slow down and we are not seeing that. And that is keeping the pressure on prices median and existing home prices $219,600 that's up 5.8% year over year. The realtors believe the inventory situation right now is disturbing! We did see a slight increase for the first time home buyers coming back to the market 31% that is still historically low but from 29% from a year ago. We are seeing weaker sales on the condos for sale side and stronger on the single family homes for sale. Distress sales moving out of the market as well, down the lowest level since the realtors began tracking it in October 2008 but the real story is the dropping inventory impacting fall home sales.
The numbers for October on housing starts down 11% 1.06 million units as seasonally an annualized adjusted that comes from a slightly revised 1.19 million units and if we look at the permit side it was actually the exact opposite was up a little over 4% 1.150 million and a sudden revision last month taking the number from down 5 to down 4.8% silver splitting hairs there other 1.06 million definitely weekend starts and then if we look at the last time we had a number that comes to that it will be the second week is free to the year that would have been marching 954000 - that was under a million with regard to the Reed and on the permit side the news obviously little brighter 1.15 million well that stacks up nicely a comes to the 1.13 in July too high water mark 1.337 in June so of course those are some improvement on permits maybe that's good news and what lies ahead what's in the windshield in the rear-view mirror little disappointing and if you look back to old 5.7 course all these metrics for significantly higher than we made improvements that we're still hovering around 230. We've tried to catch much as we can get with a transcript but we would of course like the issue you were trying to dig in on an any investment whether by design to create stimulus bridges to know where I like broken windows only carry you so far.
Getting numbers are expected to be around 1.1 million units of both single family and multi-family housing and that is very consistent with what we've been expecting and the underlying theme of what's happening with United States real estate. Whether it's residential or commercial is that demand continues to outpace new supply construction levels are rising the indicate a very healthy market both on the commercial side in the residential side but by far are falling short of what we're saying about the job driven them and that's coming back into the marketplace. Housing in particular the single family numbers are a very interesting to look at because we're looking at about six to seven hundred thousand units of completed home compared to a peak of a 1.6 million prior to the last recession so we're still well below prior peaks and household formation has picked up pace by pushing about 1.5 million units so there's a balance between supply and demand is very favorable.
This high consistent trend do the feds get to increase interest rates next month? The feds are incredibly data sensitive as we saw earlier in the year where there is some turbulation in the markets in the third quarter in and they basically pause as job numbers are coming in very strong 270000 + last month. And because of the fact that we have now seen two three cycles of expected interest rate increases that have been postponed of the markets are expecting on the real estate site anyway the Feds to move forward with an interest rate increased having said that the accommodative attitude and the fact that inflation is not a problem. Really with energy prices falling and we wish it was just starting to take form we believe that then going into 2016 we're going to have a very a data-driven feed on the more accommodated side of the equation than one that is too aggressive with interest rates freezing.