Monday, February 23, 2015

Existing Home Sales Fall to 9-Month Low

Existing home sales fell 4.9% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the lowest rate in nine months. Existing home sales in December was upwardly revised to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 5.07 million.

The median existing-home price increased 6.2% year-over-year to $199,600 in January, marking the 35th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Total housing inventory increased 0.5% in January to 1.87 million homes available for sale, but declined 0.5% from January 2013. There is currently a 4.7-month supply of total existing homes available for sale, up from 4.4 months in December.

Existing home sales weakened in all four regions, posting month-over-month declines of 6.0% in the Northeast, 2.7% in the Midwest, 4.6% in the South and 7.1% in the West.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun noted: “January housing data can be volatile because of seasonal influences, but low housing supply and the ongoing rise in home prices above the pace of inflation appeared to slow sales despite interest rates remaining near historic lows,” he said. “Realtors are reporting that low rates are attracting potential buyers, but the lack of new and affordable listings is leading some to delay decisions.”

All-cash sales were 27% of transactions in January, one percentage point higher than in December yet 6 percentage points lower than January 2013.

First-time home buyers represent 28% of all buyers, the lowest level since June 2014 and down from 29% in December.

Read the NAR report.

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