Existing home sale fell 1.3% in January to an annual rate of 5.46 million, after an upwardly revised gain of 3.9% in December to an annualized pace of 5.53 million. Despite the small decline, existing home sales continue to trend higher; they were up a strong 9.6% in January from January one year ago. Regionally, sales were up modestly in all areas except for the West where they declined 9.4%. The inventory of homes available for sale gained 2.2% in January from December but were down 10.7% from January 2019 to an annual rate of 1.420 million which represents just a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace. House prices shot higher over the past year amid tight supply; the annual gain in the median price for an existing home rose 6.8% in January to $266,300.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, finds the outlook for 2020 promising despite the drop in January.
“Existing home sales are off to a strong start at 5.46 million.” Yun said. “The trend line for housing starts is increasing and showing steady improvement, which should ultimately lead to more home sales.”