January Existing Home Sales Edge Higher
But Jump 11 Percent Year-Over-Year
Existing home sales barely moved upward in January, compared to December, but were 11 percent higher year-over-year, the National Association of Realtors said.
Month-over-month sales nudged higher 0.4 percent in January, with totals comprised of transactions of single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and co-ops.
However, sales jumped upward by double digits for the month, compared to January 2015.
The NAR said the 11 percent year-over-year jump is the best annual increase in six months, but 'subpar supply levels have propelled price growth to the fastest since April 2015.
Existing sales has started 2016 on solid footing, rising slightly to the strongest pace since July 2015 (5.48 million units), said Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist.
"The housing market has shown promising resilience in recent months, but home prices are still rising too fast because of ongoing supply constraints," Yun said. "Despite the global economic slowdown, the housing sector continues to recover and will likely help the U.S. economy avoid a recession."
The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $213,800, up 8.2 percent from January 2015 ($197,600), the NAR said. January's price increase was the largest since April 2015 (8.5 percent).
Current housing supply levels aren't even close to what's needed to accommodate the growth in housing demand, Yun said.
The share of first-time buyers remained at 32 percent in January for the second consecutive month and is up from 28 percent a year ago.
Single-family home sales increased 1.0 percent month-over-month, and are now 11.2 percent higher than the pace of a year ago. Condominium and co-op sales fell 4.7 percent in January, compared to December, but are still 8.9 percent above the pace of January 2015.
On a regional basis:
Sales in the Northeast increased 2.7 percent for the month, and are 0.9 percent above January 2015.
The Midwest rose 4.0 percent in January, and are 18.2 percent higher year-over-year.
Existing-home sales in the South were unchanged compared to December, but are 5.7 percent above January 2015.
Sales in the West dropped 4.1 percent for the month, but are still 8.3 percent higher than a year ago.