Sales of existing homes rose in January from a downwardly-revised December.
Existing-home sales rose in January, marking three gains in the past four months, while inventories continued to improve, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.38 million-unit pace in December and are 0.7 percent above a spike to 4.54 million in January 2011.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said strong gains in contract activity in recent months show buyers are responding to very favorable market conditions. “The uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals – pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents.”
Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 0.4 percent to 2.31 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 6.4-month supply in December.
“The broad inventory condition can be described as moving into a rough balance, not favoring buyers or sellers,” Yun said. “Foreclosure sales are moving swiftly with ready home buyers and investors competing in nearly all markets. A government proposal to turn bank-owned properties into rentals on a large scale does not appear to be needed at this time.”
Total unsold listed inventory has trended down from a record 4.04 million in July 2007, and is 20.6 percent below a year ago.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $154,700 in January, down 2.0 percent from January 2011. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales which sell at deep discounts – accounted for 35 percent of January sales (22 percent were foreclosures and 13 percent were short sales), up from 32 percent in December; they were 37 percent in January 2011.
Zero Hedge adds:
And here is yet another reason why we will permanently ignore the pathologically lying real estate syndicate known as the NAR (link): December data was just revised from +5% to -0.5% (from 4.61 million to 4.38 million). Since December market expectations were for a +5.2% print, imagine the sheer horror the algos would have been faced with had the real number been reported on time. Needless to say, if this number had been unrevised, the January +4.3% increase would have been a decline. This way the aglos focused only on the immediate moment get two months of beats in a row. Huzzah. Anyone who trades anything based on this borderline criminal self-reportingenterprise needs to have their head checked. In other news, when will the LIBOR investigation finally target the NAR?
And some graphs from Calculated Risk: