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Existing-home sales surge back in December

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Staff writer ▼ | January 23, 2016
Existing-home sales snapped back solidly in December as more buyers reached the market before the end of the year.
Home sale
Housing   All four major regions saw large increases
The delayed closings resulting from the rollout of the Know Before You Owe initiative pushed a portion of November's would-be transactions into last month's figure, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Led by the South and West, all four major regions saw large increases in December.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 14.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December from 4.76 million in November. After last month's turnaround (the largest monthly increase ever recorded), sales are now 7.7 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says December's robust bounce back caps off the best year of existing sales (5.26 million) since 2006 (6.48 million).

"While the carryover of November's delayed transactions into December contributed greatly to the sharp increase, the overall pace taken together indicates sales these last two months maintained the healthy level of activity seen in most of 2015.

"Additionally, the prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months and warm November and December weather allowed more homes to close before the end of the year."

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in December was $224,100, up 7.6 percent from December 2014 ($208,200). Last month's price increase marks the 46th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of December dropped 12.3 percent to 1.79 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 3.8 percent lower than a year ago (1.86 million).

Unsold inventory is at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.1 months in November and the lowest since January 2005 (3.6 months).


 

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