Existing-home sales faded for the eleventh straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million. Sales waned 1.5% from Nov. and 34.0% from one year ago

Washington – Existing-home sales retreated for the eleventh consecutive month in Dec., according to the National Association of Realtors®. Three of the four major U.S. regions recorded month-over-month drops, while sales in the West were unchanged.

All regions experienced year-over-year declines.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 1.5% from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million in Dec.

Year-over-year, sales sagged 34.0% (down from 6.09 million in December 2021).

“Dec. was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”

Total housing inventory registered at the end of Dec. was 970,000 units, which was down 13.4% from Nov. but up 10.2% from one year ago (880,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.3 months in Nov. but up from 1.7 months in Dec. 2021.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in Dec. was $366,900, an increase of 2.3% from Dec. 2021 ($358,800), as prices rose in all regions. This marks 130 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

“Home prices nationwide are still positive, though mildly,” Yun added. “Markets in roughly half of the country are likely to offer potential buyers discounted prices compared to last year.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 26 days in Dec., up from 24 days in Nov. and 19 days in Dec. 2021. Fifty-seven percent of homes sold in Dec. 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in Dec., up from 28% in November and 30% in Dec. 2021. NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released in November 2022, found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26%, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.

All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions in Dec., up from 26% in Nov. and 23% in Dec. 2021.

“Cash buyers are unaffected by fluctuations in mortgage rates and were able to take advantage of lower prices in some areas,” Yun said.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in Dec., up from 14% in Nov. but down from 17% in Dec. 2021. Distressed sales, foreclosures and short sales, represented 1% of sales in Dec., virtually unchanged from last month and one year ago.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.15% as of Jan., down from 6.33% last week, but up from 3.56% one year ago. Single-family home sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.60 million in Dec., down 1.1% from 3.64 million in Nov. and 33.5% from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $372,700 in Dec., up 2% from Dec. 2021.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 420,000 units in Dec., down 4.5% from November and 38.2% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $317,200 in Dec., an annual increase of 3.3%.

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