Existing Home Sales Down for January
February 21, 2020
Total existing home sales during January were down by 1.3 percent from December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). On a year-over-year basis, sales were up by 9.6 percent from the 4.98 million level set in January 2019.
NAR also reported the median existing home price for all housing types in January was $266,300, a 6.8 percent increase from the $249,400 level from a year earlier. December marked the 95th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
January’s total housing inventory of 1.42 million units was up 2.2 percent from the previous month but down 10.7 percent from one year earlier. The housing inventory level for January is the lowest level since 1999. NAR added that unsold inventory in January was at a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up slightly the three-month figure recorded in December, but lower than the 3.8-month figure recorded in January 2019.
Distressed sales represented two percent of sales in January, unchanged from the previous month and previous year. First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of January’s sales, higher than the 31 percent in December and the 29 percent from one year ago.
“It is good to see first-time buyers slowly stepping into the market,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The rise in the homeownership rate among the younger adults, under 35, and minority households means an increasing number of Americans can build wealth by owning real estate. Still, in order to further expand opportunities, significantly more inventory and home construction are needed at the affordable price points.”
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