According to data released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the pace of existing single-family home sales climbed in January, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.86 million. January's sales pace is a 1% increase from December's rate of 4.81 million, and a 11.2% increase from January 2015's pace of 4.37 million.
Total existing homes sales during January reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.47 million, marking the highest annual rate in six months. The median existing home price for all housing types reached $213,800 in January, an increase of 8.2% compared to January 2015. January marks the 47th consecutive month of Y-o-Y increases in median home prices, which is largely due to lower inventory.
"The housing market has shown promising resilience in recent months, but home prices are still rising too fast because of ongoing supply constraints," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. " Despite the global economic slowdown, the housing sector continues to recover and will likely help the U.S. economy avoid a recession."
Although total housing inventory increased 3.4% in January to 1.82 million, total existing home inventory is down -2.2% compared to last year. Inventory of existing single-family homes in January increased 4.5% month-over-month, but is down -3.0% Y-o-Y. Supply constraints have impacted the median sales price for existing single-family homes significantly, as evidenced by the 8.3% increase in median sales price between January 2016 ($215,000) and January 2015 ($198,600).
Affordability continues to be a major hurdle for buyers, and the median sales price of existing single-family homes has increased over 7% Y-o-Y in every region except for the Northeast, which saw a -0.1% decrease.
"The spring buying season is right around the corner and current supply levels aren't even close to what's needed to accommodate the subsequent growth in housing demand," says Yun. "Home prices ascending near or above double-digit appreciation aren't healthy – especially considering the fact that household income and wages are barely rising."
Read the full release and see the full dataset from NAR here >>