Friday, January 20, 2012

Existing Home Sales Climb 5% in December

Existing home sales rose for the third consecutive month, and are now at the fastest pace since January 2011. Existing home sales rose 5% to a seasonally adjusted 4.61 million unit annual pace. This rate of sales is well above the 2011 average of 4.30 million units.

Condo sales led the gains, increasing 8.7% over the month, however single family homes also increased by a strong 4.6%. December’s gains were consistent across the country. Compared to year ago levels performance improved in almost every region, with the Midwest growing 9.5%, the South 3.5, and the Northeast growing 3.3%. The West is the only region that remains down (slightly) for the year at -0.8%.

The strong sales led inventory to drop substantially to 6.2 months available for sale from 7.2. This is the lowest level since early 2006, indicating less distressed homes are reaching the market.

House prices remain weak, falling 2.5% from a year ago in December. This seems to be turning around, as prices appreciated slightly and the year-over-year decline is the smallest in about one year.

Read the report.

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