Existing-Home Sales Jumped in February

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Here’s some uplifting pre-COVID-19 housing data: Existing-home sales were at an annual rate of 5.77 million in February, an increase of 6.5% compared with January and up 7.2% compared with February 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The month-over-month increase follows a slight decrease in January.

Regionally, and month-over-month, existing-home sales increased 18.9% in the West, 7.2% in the South, and 0.8% in the Midwest. Sales fell 4.1% in the Northeast.

“February’s sales of over five million homes were the strongest since February 2007,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “I would attribute that to the incredibly low mortgage rates and the steady release of a sizable pent-up housing demand that was built over recent years.”

Yun says although home sales were on an upward trajectory in February, “the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic.”

He adds that “it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $270,100, up 8.0% from $250,100 in February 2019.

February’s price increase marks 96 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of February totaled 1.47 million units, up 5.0% from January but down 9.8% from one year ago.

That’s a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

Properties typically remained on the market for 36 days in February, seasonally down from 43 days in January, and down from 44 days in February 2019.

Forty-seven percent of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.

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