While last year was an excellent one for existing home sales, they did peter out at the end, falling 4.6 percent in December. The January numbers, released on Friday by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) surprised analysts by snapping back, recovering from the December loss and then some. Sales of previously owned single-family houses, town houses, condominiums, and cooperative apartments rose 6.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.5 million units. December sales were at 6.18 million. The increase wasn’t quite enough to overcome a year-over-year deficit, leaving sales 2.3 percent below those in January 2021. Single-family sales closely mirrored the overall numbers, rising 6.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.41 million, but remaining down 2.4 percent from the previous January. Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 8.8 percent to 740,000 units, 1.3 percent below the rate a year earlier. [existinghomesdata] Analysts had expected a slight decline in sales for the month. Those polled by Econoday and Trading Economics had a consensus estimate of 6.1 million annualized sales. “Buyers were likely anticipating further rate increases and locking-in at the low rates, and investors added to overall demand with all-cash offers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Consequently, housing prices continue to move solidly higher.” Both the number of homes available for sale and the estimated timeframe for absorbing them hit all-time lows in January. There were only 860,000 homes listed for sale, a 2.3 percent decline from December and 16.5 percent fewer than a year ago. This is estimated to be a 1.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 1.7 and 1.9 months in the two earlier periods.
Source: Mortgage News Daily