The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported sales of existing single-family homes rose 0.4% in January to an annualized rate of 5.47 million units. The expectation was for 5.32 million units.
“The housing market has shown promising resilience in recent months, but home prices are still rising too fast because of ongoing supply constraints,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Despite the global economic slowdown, the housing sector continues to recover and will likely help the U.S. economy avoid a recession.”
The West was the only region to see a decline in sales in January.
“The spring buying season is right around the corner and current supply levels aren’t even close to what’s needed to accommodate the subsequent growth in housing demand,” says Yun. “Home prices ascending near or above double-digit appreciation aren’t healthy – especially considering the fact that household income and wages are barely rising.”
January existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 2.7% to an annual rate of 760,000, and are now 20.6% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $247,500, which is 0.9% above January 2015.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 4.0% to an annual rate of 1.30 million in January, and are now 18.2% above January 2015. The median price in the Midwest was $164,300, up 8.7% from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South were at an annual rate of 2.24 million in January (unchanged from December) and are 5.7% above January 2015. The median price in the South was $184,800, up 8.5% from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West decreased 4.1% to an annual rate of 1.17 million in January, but are still 8.3% higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $309,400, which is 7.4% above January 2015.
“This legislation contains a number of initiatives that put homeownership in reach for more families, including several reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing. Now that the House has overwhelmingly voted in support of the bill, we look forward to working with our industry partners to advance it through the Senate,” said NAR President Tom Salomone.