Inventories Rise Sales Slide

Mortgage News Daily reports Rising Inventories Tempering Prices, Existing Home Sales Resume Slide.

Existing home sales finished up the year on a decidedly sour note. After putting together consecutive increase in October and November and ending a six-month losing streak, the National Association of Realtors® reports sales plummeted 6.4 percent in December.

Sales of previously owned single-family houses, townhouses, condos and cooperative apartments were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million compared to 5.32 million in November. Existing home sales, which were already at a 7-1/2 year low in November and down 7.0 percent from a year earlier are now 10.3 percent lower than from the 5.56 percent pace last December.

Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.45 million, compared to 4.71 million in November, and 10.1 percent below the 4.95 million in annualized sales a year ago. Condo and co-op sales fared even worse, dropped 12.9 percent month-over-month to an annual rate of 540,000 units, an 11.5 percent annual downturn.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $253,600, a 2.9 percent increase from the $246,500 median a year earlier and the 82nd straight month of year-over-year gains. The median existing single-family home price was $255,200, also a 2.9 percent increase. The median condo price gained 2.3 percent to $240,600.Despite slower sales, the housing inventory still declined from 1.74 million existing homes in November to 1.55 million. This is however an improvement from the 1.46 million homes available sale last December. Unsold inventory is estimated at a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 months in November but up from 3.2 months a year ago.

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Sales by Region

  • Existing-home sales In the Midwest fell 11.2 percent from last month to an annual rate of 1.19 million in December and down 10.5 percent from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $191,300, unchanged from last year.
  • Existing-home sales in the South dropped 5.4 percent to 2.09 million. This is 8.7 percent lower on an annual basis. The median price increased 2.5 percent to $224,300.
  • Existing-home sales in the West dipped 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.02 million in December and are now down 15 percent year-over-year. The median price rose 0.2 percent to $374,400.

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