Wednesday
October 22, 2014

Existing-Home Sales Take a Brief Dip Before Spring

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Existing-Home Sales Take a Brief Dip Before Spring

Existing-home sales slipped 7.1 percent in February compared to levels from a year ago at this time, marking the slowest sales pace since July 2012, according to the National Association of REALTORS®' latest report. But home prices continue to recover as prices in February edged 9.1 percent higher than year ago levels, NAR reports.

“We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards, and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead. With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year.”

Here’s an overview of some of the findings from NAR’s latest report:

  • Existing-home sales – which reflects completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – declined 0.4 percent in February month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million.
  • The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $189,000 – 9.1 percent higher than February 2013.
  • Distressed homes – including foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 16 percent of February sales, compared to 15 percent in January. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value, while short sales sold for an 11 percent discount, on average.
  • Housing inventory increased 6.4 percent in February to 2 million existing homes for sale. It represents a 5.2-month supply at the current pace.
  • The median time on the market for all homes was 62 days in February, a drop from 67 days in January and 74 days in February 2013.
  • All-cash sales accounted for 35 percent of transactions in February, up from 33 percent in January. Individual investors, who make up many of those cash sales, purchased 21 percent of the homes in February.

Snapshot by Region

Here’s a look at how existing-home sales fared across the country in February:

Northeast: Existing-home sales dropped 11.3 percent to an annual rate of 550,000. Sales are 12.7 percent below February 2013 levels. Median price: $237,800, up 1.5 percent from a year ago.

Midwest: Existing-home sales dropped 3.8 percent in February to a pace of 1 million. Sales are 12.3 percent below a year ago. Median price: $140,900, up 8.6 percent higher than a year ago.

South: Existing-home sales increased 1.5 percent to a pace of 1.98 million in January. Sales are 0.5 percent below February 2013. Median price: $163,400, up 8.3 percent from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales increased 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.07 million in February. Sales are 10.1 percent below year ago levels. Median price: $279,400, up 18 percent from a year ago.

--By REALTOR® Magazine Daily News