Existing Home Sales Slipped In December

Existing-home sales dropped for the eleventh straight month in December, down 1.5% from November and 34% YOY, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors.

Sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million from 4.09 million the month prior. Three of the four major regions saw declines month-over-month, though the West’s sales were unchanged from November.

All four regions saw annual declines.

“December was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. 

“However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”

The 30-year fixed rate fell to 6.15% last week.

Limited inventory will continue to cause problems in 2023.

The inventory of unsold homes fell 6.6% from October to 1.14 million. This is a 2.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.3 the month prior but up from 1.7 months in December 2021.

While appreciation is moderating, prices still rose in all regions. The median price for an existing home was $366,900, an increase of 2.3% YOY but down slightly from last month. This is the 130th consecutive month of YOY price increases, the longest streak on record.

The typical home stayed on the market for 26 days in December, up from 24 in November, while 57% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

Yun notes that while home price appreciation across the country is still positive, buyers should find reduced prices in about half of U.S. markets. Home prices are now 0.7% below their June peak, data from Zillow shows.

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