The National Association of Realtors is reporting that existing home sales were up 3.6% in December, increasing to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million. In addition they report that overall sales were up 10.8% from one year ago. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $274,500, up 7.8% from December, 2018. November’s price increase marks 94 straight months of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of December was 1.40 million units, down 14.6% from November and 8.5% from one year ago. Total unsold inventory was at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace with properties remaining on the market for around 41 days. The Realtors again cite issues with inventory taking its toll on sales with unsold inventory declining for seven consecutive months from year-ago levels.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said home sales fluctuated a great deal last year. “I view 2019 as a neutral year for housing in terms of sales,” Yun said. “Home sellers are positioned well, but prospective buyers aren’t as fortunate. Low inventory remains a problem, with first-time buyers affected the most.”