A report released this morning by the National Association of Realtors showed that total existing home sales in America, which account for a much larger portion of the overall U.S. housing market than new home sales (due out next week), fell by 3.2 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million units. That was the second monthly decline in a row and significantly worse than the 0.7 percent gain expected. The December figure was also revised slightly lower, which helped pull the year-over-year growth rate down to -4.8 percent, the steepest annual decline since 2014.
Regionally, existing home sales fell across the country last month, with the biggest declines found in the Midwest (-6.0 percent) and the West (-5.0 percent). Total housing inventory lifted 4.1 percent in January to 1.68 million existing homes available for sale, which is also 9.5 percent lower compared to a year ago. Further, the median selling price was $240,500 in January, up 5.8 percent over the past year and therefore the 71st consecutive month of annual growth. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, added that “The utter lack of sufficient housing supply and its influence on higher home prices muted overall sales activity in much of the U.S. last month … It’s very clear that too many markets right now are becoming less affordable and desperately need more new listings to calm the speedy price growth.”
Sources: Econoday, NAR, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch