February 21, 2014

Existing-home sales decreased in January

Feb. 24, 2014 – Existing-home sales decreased 5.1 percent nationwide in January to an annualized, seasonally adjusted 4.6 million units due to rising mortgage interest rates, limited housing inventory, bad weather and tighter credit, according to NAFCU Research Assistant Doug Christman.

Analyzing data from the National Association of Realtors for a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report, Christman noted, year over year, existing-home sales were down 6.5 percent. "Year-over-year median home prices continue to rise as the housing inventory remains tight and the number of distressed homes on the market decreases," he said.

Sales decreased in all four regions from December to January. The West decreased the most with a decline of 7.3 percent, followed by the Midwest (-7.1 percent), the South (-3.5 percent), and the Northeast (-3.1 percent).

The months of available inventory increased to 4.9 months of supply in January from 4.6 months of supply in December. January's figure for months of supply was 14 percent higher than last year at this time.

The median existing home price decreased from a revised $197,700 in December to $188,900 (not seasonally adjusted) in January. That's up from $170,600 a year ago, but down from the summer peak due to seasonal factors.

"Overall, 2013 had the strongest sales in seven years and the housing market is expected to remain a key driver of economic growth in 2014," Christman said.