According to a recent report released by the National Association of Realtors home sales saw just a slight dip as we began the new year. However, of the four primary markets across the United States, only the Northeast experienced a positive increase in sales activity.
Total existing home sales include completed transactions of single family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops and for the month of January, there was a slight decrease by only 1.2% from the month before in December.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says last month’s home sales of 4.94 million were the lowest since November 2015, but that he does not expect the numbers to decline further going forward. “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”
Home prices had inched up in January by 2.8% over last year at the same time. This marks the 83rd consecutive month for year over year gains in home prices.
Yun notes that this median home price growth is the slowest since February 2012, and cautions that the figures do not yet tell the full story for the month of January. “Lower mortgage rates from December 2018 had little impact on January sales, however, the lower rates will inevitably lead to more home sales.”
Inventory levels of housing available had actually increased by the end of January which is important to note. The movement shows that the market is heading back to normal after the holidays. Additionally to note, inventory levels were higher this January over last January at 1.59 million verses 1.53 million. Properties had remained on the market at an average of 49 days in January, up from 46 in December with 38% of the homes sold in January being on the market for less than 1 month.