Existing Home Sales Fell 6.4% in December
Washington, DC, January 22, 2019-Total existing-home sales for December decreased 6.4% from November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.99 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Sales are now down 10.3% from a year ago (5.56 million in December 2017), and none of the four major U.S. regions saw a gain in sales activity last month.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says current housing numbers are partly a result of higher interest rates during much of 2018. “The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates. Softer sales in December reflected consumer search processes and contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today. Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $253,600, up 2.9% from December 2017 ($246,500). December’s price increase marks the 82nd straight month of year-over-year gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of December decreased to 1.55 million, down from 1.74 million existing homes available for sale in November but represents an increase from 1.46 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 last month and up from 3.2 months a year ago.
Properties typically stayed on the market for 46 days in December, up from 42 days in November and 40 days a year ago. Thirty-nine percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.