NAR: Existing-home sales rise 3.1% in January 

by John Yellig

Existing-home sales jumped in January, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) said.   

Specifically, sales rose 3.1% from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 million. Year-over-year, sales were down 1.7% from 4.07 million in January 2023. The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $379,100, up 5.1% from $360,800 a year before.       

“While home sales remain sizably lower than a couple of years ago, January’s monthly gain is the start of more supply and demand,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release. “Listings were modestly higher, and home buyers are taking advantage of lower mortgage rates compared to late last year.” 

“Existing-home sales will continue to be constrained in the foreseeable future as the supply of homes remains tight and sellers continue to wait for lower mortgage rates,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Selma Hepp said in a news release. “All eyes are on the Fed now to cut rates this summer in order to provide relief to the buyers as well as stubborn sellers. Should they do so, existing-home sales should expect a better outlook for the remainder of the year.” 

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.77% as of Feb. 15, down from 6.64% a week before but up from 6.32% a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.        

Total housing inventory at the end of January stood at 1.01 million units, up 2% from December and 3.1% from the year-ago level of 980,000. Unsold inventory stood at a 3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.1 months in December but up from 2.9 months in January 2023. 

Properties typically remained on the market for 36 days in January, up from 29 days in December and 33 days in January 2023.   

By property type, single-family home sales in January rose 3.4% month over month to an annual rate of 3.6 million. The median existing single-family home price was $383,500, up 5% on a year-over-year basis.                       

Existing condominium and co-op sales were flat compared to December, at an annual rate of 400,000. The median existing condo price was $339,400, up 5.7% from January 2023.    

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