NAR: Existing-Home Sales Fell to Lowest Level Since 1995 in December

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Existing-home sales decreased 1.0% in December compared with November and were down 6.2% compared with December 2022, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.78 million was the lowest level since 1995.

A major factor slowing home sales is rising prices: In December, the median existing-home sales price was $382,600 – up 4.4% from December 2022.

December marked the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

“The latest month’s sales look to be the bottom before inevitably turning higher in the new year,” sats Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “Mortgage rates are meaningfully lower compared to just two months ago, and more inventory is expected to appear on the market in upcoming months.”

Total housing inventory registered at the end of December was 1 million units, down 11.5% from November but up 4.2% from one year ago.

That’s a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace.

“Despite sluggish home sales, 85 million homeowning households enjoyed further gains in housing wealth,” Yun adds. “Obviously, the recent, rapid three-year rise in home prices is unsustainable. If price increases continue at the current pace, the country could accelerate into haves and have-nots. Creating a path towards homeownership for today’s renters is essential. It requires economic and income growth and, most importantly, a steady buildup of home construction.”

In December, residential properties typically remained on the market for 29 days, up from 25 days in November and 26 days in December 2022.

Fifty-six percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.

Regionally, and month over month, existing home sales in the Northeast were unchanged compared with November. They were down 4.3% in the Midwest and 2.8% in the South. Existing-home sales grew 7.8% in the West.

Photo: Breno Assis

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