Existing home sales see full year of decline

January marked 12 consecutive months of declining existing home sales as sales fell 0.7 percent during the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 million units, representing a 38.4 percent decrease compared to a year ago. NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long noted this data “foil[s] hopes of a mild rebound.”

“Homebuilders and realtors alike shared anecdotes of increased foot traffic during the month as a drop in mortgage rates brought buyers off the sidelines,” Long said in a new Macro Data Flash report. “But sales nevertheless sunk to a post-financial crisis low due to constrained supply.”

Existing home sales in January were mixed across regions, falling in the Midwest (-5 percent) and Northeast (-3.8 percent), but rising in the West (+2.9 percent) and South (+1.1 percent). Based on current sales, there were 2.9 months of supply at the end of the month; analysts consider 6 months of inventory a rough balance between supply and demand.

In addition, the median existing home price – not seasonally adjusted – fell 2 percent in January to $359,000.


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