Existing-Home Sales Hit Lowest Level in 28 Years in 2023

New York, NY, January 19, 2024-"Sales of previously owned homes in 2023 dropped to the lowest level in 28 years, as home-buying affordability worsened and the supply of homes for sale remained low,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Existing home sales, which make up most of the housing market, slid 19% in 2023 from the prior year to 4.09 million, the lowest full-year level since 1995, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.

“On a monthly basis, sales fell 1% in December from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.78 million, the lowest monthly rate since August 2010. December sales fell 6.2% from a year earlier.

“After two years of soaring home sales and prices, the housing market skidded to a halt in mid-2022. The Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb inflation and cool the economy by raising its benchmark interest rate pushed mortgage rates higher and spooked buyers.

“In 2023, high mortgage rates and high home prices continued to make home purchases prohibitively expensive for many prospective buyers. Average mortgage rates hovered between 6% and 8% all year, according to Freddie Mac.

“But the inventory of homes for sale also held at very low levels, keeping prices from falling despite the drop in demand. Many homeowners with low mortgage rates are choosing to stay put because it would be too expensive to buy another house at a higher interest rate.

“The national median existing-home price rose 4.4% in December from a year earlier to $382,600, NAR said.”