Q4 Home Sales Pace Best of the Year
Pushes Homes Prices Higher, Supply Lower
Existing home sales rose 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 (5.57 million units), compared to the third quarter, and was the best sales pace of the year, the National Association of Realtors reports. Sales jumped 7.1 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2015.
On the downside, the NAR said the national median price for a single-family home in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $235,000, or 5.7 percent higher than the median price in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Median existing home prices increased in 158 of 178 metropolitan statistical areas, or 89 percent, in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the fourth quarter of 2015. The remaining 20 metros, or 11 percent, saw their median prices decline.
The fourth quarter sales pace also pushed available housing supply to record lows, the NAR said.
At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, or 6.3 percent less than the 1.76 million homes for sale at the end of the fourth quarter in 2015. This is the lowest level since the NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999.
"Buyer interest stayed elevated in most areas thanks to mortgage rates under four percent for most of the year and the creation of 1.7 million new jobs, edging the job market closer to full employment," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. "At the same time, the inability for supply to catch up with this demand drove prices higher and continued to put a tight affordability squeeze on those trying to reach the market."