Existing-Home Sales Ticked Up Slightly in January

Existing-home sales ticked up slightly in January and increased 23.7% from a year ago, according to the latest data from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). January reported a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million existing-home sales.

Single-family home sales increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.93 million in January, rising 0.2% from 5.92 million in December. This is up 23.0% YoY. For condos and co-ops, existing-home sales increased 4.1% from December and 28.8% YoY to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000.

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By Region:

Existing-Home Sales: 1.57 million (+22.7% YoY)
Median Price: $227,800 (+14.7% YoY)

Existing-Home Sales: 870,000 (+24.3% YoY)
Median Price: $361,400 (+15.8% YoY)

Existing-Home Sales: 2.94 million (+25.1% YoY)
Median Price: $263,300 (+14.6% YoY)

Existing-Home Sales: 1.31 million (+21.3% YoY)
Median Price: $461,800 (+16.1% YoY)

How the Industry Is Responding:

“Home sales continue to ascend in the first month of the year, as buyers quickly snatched up virtually every new listing coming on the market. Sales easily could have been even 20% higher if there had been more inventory and more choices. Home sales are continuing to play a part in propping up the economy. With additional stimulus likely to pass and several vaccines now available, the housing outlook looks solid for this year.” — Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist

“This year, more than ever, we are prepared and eager to help families and neighbors secure housing. NAR is working to close the racial homeownership gap, secure equal access to housing for all Americans and address housing affordability issues plaguing communities across the country.” — Charlie Oppler, NAR President

“Rising sales clearly show that Americans have experienced a fundamental shift in the importance of home over the course of the pandemic. They aren’t waiting until the traditional spring buying season. We are in the dead of winter, yet people are still looking to size up, find places with more space or a much-needed office.” — Bill Banfield, Rocket Mortgage Executive Vice President of Capital Markets

“The January increase in existing-home sales pushed the annual sales pace to almost 6.7 million units, close to levels last seen in 2006. The housing market is starting the year on a strong note, driven by sustained housing demand, low mortgage rates, and the economy regaining its footing.

“Despite scarce inventory levels in the entry-level portion of the market, first-time buyers represented a third of sales last month. We expect a significant portion of purchase demand in the coming years to be driven by millennials and the younger-age cohorts.

“Overall, low housing supply and rising prices continue to be a constraint on an even higher sales pace. The number of homes for sale declined yet again, falling to a record low of 1.04 million units—a 1.9-months’ worth of supply. The median sales price has come down from a record high in October, but at $303,900, it was still 14% higher than a year ago. Tight inventory levels continue to create a competitive market for buyers and are pushing prices higher. Yesterday’s [at press time] U.S. Census Bureau report showed that new residential construction activity continues to rise, which hopefully bodes well for more choices for buyers and slower price growth in the spring.” — Joel Kan, Mortgage Bankers Association Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting