Feb. 22, 2013 – Record-low interest rates, high affordability, pent-up demand and a slowly improving labor market contributed to January’s 9.1 percent year-over-year rise in existing-home sales, and NAFCU expects sales to remain strong this year.
The National Association of Realtors, which reported the data Thursday, said existing-home sales in January came in at an annualized 4.92 million units, seasonally adjusted. That was 0.4 percent higher than December’s pace.
The months of available inventory decreased to 4.2 months of supply in January from a revised 4.5 months of supply in December. “January's figure was 32.3 percent lower than at the same time last year,” Christman noted.
Shrinking inventories have tightened the supply of homes and helped support prices, Christman said. The median existing-home price, non-seasonally adjusted, fell from a revised $180,200 in December to $173,600 in January. “That’s up from $154,600 a year ago,” he said.
Christman said mortgage rates are expected to increase slightly in 2013. “Overall, existing home sales should remain strong and help keep the slowly recovering economy on track,” he said.