Existing-home sales of all types--including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops--jumped 14.7% in December from a 19-month low, getting rid of the impact of regulatory changes, according to a monthly release by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Friday morning.
Total existing-home sales increased to an annual rate of 5.46 million in December from last month’s revised 4.76 million, which is a 7.7% year-over-year increase. The recovery stands in line with a market prediction that BUILDER has reported.
“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,” said Laurence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a statement. “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 share of first-time buyers increased to 32% in this month, up from 30% in November and 29% a year ago. This echoes with a story that BUILDER reported on several economists' forecasts that a strong economy, stable job market, and low interests will drive the 2016 housing market further up. An economist based in Seattle, Wash. also predicted a hike of millennial buyers entering home markets.
Sales of existing single-family homes reached an annual rate of 4.82 million in December, a 16.1% increase from last month and a 7.1% increase from last year. At the regional level, the Northeast region has seen the largest year-over-year drop, at 12.5%. But the South market is still the largest market in terms of the number of sales, with a total of 1,980,000 sales made in December.
The median home price for existing single-family homes rose 2.1% to $226,000 in December, a 8.0% increase year-over-year. The West region has seen the biggest year-over-year hike in the median price, jumping 8.6% to $324,900. The West market is also the highest median price for single-family homes.
To highlight the changes over median prices for existing single-family homes, we have created a chart below that showcases this year's monthly price median in relation to last year's annual median.
Read the full release from the National Association of Realtors for additional commentary on December existing single family home sales.