Sales of existing homes fell for 12th straight month in January as the median existing-home price rose for a record 131th straight month, year over year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Tuesday.
Sales in January, at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.00 million units, were down 0.7% from December’s level, while unadjusted sales were down 36.9% from January of 2022. Sales fell from year-ago in all four regions of the country, NAR’s monthly report reveals
The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $359,000, an increase of 1.3% from January 2022 ($354,300), as prices climbed in three out of four U.S. regions, while falling in the West. The median existing-home price has now risen for 131 consecutive months, year-over-year, the longest-running streak on record.
The inventory of unsold existing homes grew from the prior month to 980,000 at the end of January, up 2.1% from December and 15.3% from one year ago (850,000).
Meanwhile, as of mid-February, mortgage rates are rising, NAR reports:
“According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (link is external) averaged 6.32% as of February 16. That’s up from 6.12% from the previous week and 3.92% one year ago.”
The current rates aren’t just discouraging first-time buyers. At double their 2021 levels, today’s mortgage rates are discouraging some current homeowners from putting their homes on the market, Nationwide Senior Economist Ben Ayers told Fox Business:
“Sellers remain reticent to jump into the down market with new listings so far in 2023 running behind 2022 and 2021.
“The vast majority of homeowners have a mortgage rate below 4%, making a swap to current rates a tough pill to swallow. As such, the supply of existing homes on the market remains near historic lows, further limiting transactions across the market.”
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