The National Association of Realtors reported that 2016’s existing home sales closed out the year as one of the best in a decade, despite sales for December being down 2.8%. Those numbers showed that while sales were down, they were still 0.7% higher than one year ago. For 2016, total existing-home sales (single-family homes, town-homes, condominiums and co-ops) were at 5.45 million sales (surpassing 2015) and was the highest number since 2006 (6.48 million). The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4.0% from December 2015 and marked the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8% to 1.65 million existing homes available for sale – the lowest level since 1999. Overall, inventory is 6.3% lower than a year ago and there is currently a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace. All-cash sales were 21% of transactions in December. Individual investors purchased 15% of homes in December with 59% of them paying in cash in December.
“Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market…However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December…Constrained inventory in many areas and climbing rents, home prices and mortgage rates means it’s not getting any easier to be a first-time buyer…” Said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the NAR in a release.