That figure comes from the month's Re/Max National Housing Report, a survey of MLS data in 52 metro regions. In addition to the 15.9% decrease in sales, Re/Max reports a 7.8% decrease in November home sales on a year-to-year basis -- the first such decline in 28 months.
"In a month when we normally expect home sales to slow down, this November we've seen more than seasonality at play," says Margaret Kelly, CEO of Re/Max. "While the fundamentals for a housing recovery remain in place, the market never moves in a straight line. Along the way, we should expect some fluctuations resulting from a number of different factors."
A tightening supply of homes for sale, "seasonal factors" (home sales typically aren't strong toward the end of the year), rising interest rates, lousy weather in November for much of the nation and the hangover from the government shutdown all contributed.
Still, at $187,000, the median home prices are up 13.7% from November 2012.
Also, the home sales market is "in balance," according to Re/Max. In other words, it would take 5.4 months, on average, to sell the entire inventory of "for sale" homes in the U.S., closing in on the six-months level market experts say is ideal between buyers and sellers.
Add it all up and it's a continuing roller-coaster ride for the residential real estate market.