Market Watch – Home Sales and Prices Up

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For this month’s market watch we are seeing home prices continue to climb as well as sales of existing homes according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), even in the traditionally quieter month of January.
A Glimpse of Hope in Existing Home Sales
Interestingly, the market is witnessing a slight resurgence in the sales of existing homes. These are properties that have been previously occupied, as opposed to brand-new constructions. This increase is attributed to more listings becoming available. According to the NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, while sales figures are still lower compared to a few years back, the rise in January indicates a balance beginning to form between supply and demand, thanks to modest increases in listings and homebuyers capitalizing on currently lower mortgage rates. The trajectory of the housing market in the coming months is expected to be significantly influenced by the direction of these mortgage rates.
Trends in Existing-Home Sales
The statistics for existing-home sales, encompassing all completed transactions of non-new-construction homes, showed a national increase of 3.1% month-over-month in January 2024, reaching an annual pace of 4.0 million homes. Despite this uptick, the figure represents a 1.7% decrease year-over-year.Regionally, the West saw a 4.3% monthly increase, while the South experienced a 4.0% rise. The Northeast remained unchanged monthly but saw a 5.9% annual decrease, and the Midwest increased by 2.2% monthly, with a 3.1% annual decline.
Home Prices: Continuing to Climb
The median sale price for existing homes nationally was $379,100 in January, marking a 5.1% increase from last year and the highest price for January on record. This trend reflects a persistent rise in home prices, with the median reaching its peak at $413,800 in June 2022. This increase has been a part of a remarkable run in the U.S. housing market, with a record streak of year-over-year median sale price increases.
All four major U.S. regions experienced annual price increases in January, with the West leading at $572,100, up 6.3% from a year ago.
The Challenge of Low Housing Inventory
The total housing inventory at the end of January was 1.01 million units, slightly up from December but still indicative of a market short of the five to six months’ supply needed for a balanced market. This limited inventory is partly due to the reluctance of homeowners to sell, especially those who secured mortgages at lower rates in the past.
Key Takeaways for Homebuyers and Sellers
For prospective homebuyers and sellers, these trends offer both challenges and opportunities. Buyers face high prices and mortgage rates, yet there’s a growing inventory of existing homes. Sellers, on the other hand, are in a strong position due to high demand and limited supply, but must navigate the implications of current mortgage rates. Of course if you want to review options schedule a free consultation on our website.