Existing-Home Sales Come Up Short

Sales of US homes fall year over year by most in 3

Jobs & housing drive the economy, and yesterday we learned that Existing Home Sales fell 3.2% in January, according to NAR.

Sales of previously owned USA homes unexpectedly fell in January to a four-month low, indicating a shortage of available properties is increasingly hindering the real-estate industry, a National Association of Realtors report showed Wednesday. After last month's decline, sales are 4.8 percent below a year ago (largest annual decline since August 2014 at 5.5 percent) and at their slowest pace since last September (5.37 million).

Total existing-home sales were down 3.2 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in December 2017. There was a 3.4 month-supply of homes on the market at the end of January, based on the current sales pace. A separate report on January sales of new homes is due out Monday. While the tax legislation also limits the deduction for mortgage interest on more expensive homes, signaling demand may cool in areas of the country where the cost of a house is well above the national median, the Realtors group said there's little evidence yet that it's having an impact.

Nationally, sales were down in January, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing-condo and -co-op sales came in at 620,000, a 1.6 percent increase from December, but a 4.6 percent decrease from one year prior.

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"There are a variety of reasons why people buy homes that are completely independent of mortgage rates", Fleming says in First American's monthly Potential Home Sales Model and analysis for January.

Distressed sales - foreclosures and short sales - were 5 percent of sales in January, unchanged from December 2017 and down from 7 percent a year ago. The median price for an existing single-family home was $241,700, while the median price for an existing condo was $231,600. The median price in the Northeast was $269,100, which is 6.8 percent above January 2017.

First-time homebuyers comprised 29 percent of existing-home sales in January, down from 32 percent in December. The median price in the Midwest was $188,000, up 8.7 percent from a year ago. Sales are 4.8 percent less than the previous year's following last month's drop. The median price in the South was $208,200, up 4.3 percent from a year ago. The total supply of homes for sale fell to 1.52 million last month, the fewest for any January since record keeping began in 1999.

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