Mortgage Daily

Published On: January 24, 2018

Existing home sales climbed to the highest level in 11 years during 2017. At the same time, the inventory of homes for sale and number of months supply ended the year at a record low.

Last year, there were 5.51 million existing U.S. homes — including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-operatives — that were sold.

It was the best year for existing home sales since 2006, when when there were
6.48 million existing residential properties that traded hands.

Those statistics were provide Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.

The number of existing home sales in 2016 was 5.45 million.

“Existing sales concluded the year on a softer note, but they were guided higher these last 12 months by a multi-year streak of exceptional job growth, which ignited buyer demand,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explained in the report. “At the same time, market conditions were far from perfect. New listings struggled to keep up with what was sold very quickly, and buying became less affordable in a large swath of the country.”

Last year’s median sales prices was $247,300, up from $233,800 in 2016. The average sales price climbed to $289,200 from $276,000.

During just December 2017, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing home sales was 5.57 million, off 4 percent from a month earlier but 1 percent better than a year earlier.

In the Northeast, the seasonally adjusted annual rate last month was 0.74 million, down from November by 8 percent — the most of any region. Sales dropped 6 percent in the Midwest to a rate of 1.33 million, while they
slipped 1.7 percent to 2.30 million in the South and dipped 1.6 percent to 1.20 million in the West.

December 2017’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing U.S. single-family home sales was 4.96 million.

Last month’s U.S. inventory of 1.48 million properties
worked out to a 3.2-month supply — the lowest on record for both metrics based on NAR data going back to 1999.

“The lack of supply over the past year has been eye-opening and is why, even with strong job creation pushing wages higher, home price gains — at 5.8 percent nationally in 2017 — doubled the pace of income growth and were even swifter in several markets,” Yun said.

Last month’s first-time buyer share was 32 percent, and the distressed sales share was 5 percent. Full-year 2017
all-cash share was 21 percent,

The average property stayed on the market for 40 days in December.

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