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Sales and prices of existing homes in the United States rise again in January

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Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose again last month, a sign that the strong momentum in housing markets from 2020 may continue this year.

Sales of existing homes in the United States rose 0.6% in January from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.69 million units annualized, the National Association of Realtors said on Friday. Sales jumped 23.7% from the previous year. This was the highest sales pace since October and the second since 2006.

House prices have also gone up. The median price of homes in the United States was $ 303,900 in January, a 14.1% increase from the previous year. Prices have increased in all parts of the country.

The burning housing market has left the number of properties available for sale at record levels. The main driver of house prices was the shortage of homes for sale.

Sales could easily have been even higher by 20% if there had been more inventory and more choice, ”said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR.

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At the end of January, there was an all-time low of 1.04 million homes for sale nationwide, down 1.9% from December and 26% from January 2020, NAR said. At the current pace of sales, this represents a supply of 1.9 months, compared to 3.1 months in January 2020.

Highlighting the competitiveness of the housing market last month, 71% of homes sold in January had been on the market for less than a month. And the properties were generally purchased within 21 days for the fifth consecutive month, NAR said.

The days in the market continue to be very quick, Yun said. No winter slowdown.

The housing market has made a comeback since last summer after dropping sharply in the spring when the coronavirus outbreak hit. Sales jumped last year to their highest level since 2006 at the height of the real estate boom.

Several market trends are helping to drive strong demand for homeownership. Mortgage rates remain at historically low levels. Americans forced to work from home during the pandemic are looking for bigger homes. And more millennials are now entering the market.

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This dynamic in demand, combined with the very low number of homes for sale, is setting the stage for a very competitive home buying season this spring.

It’s not just a seller’s market, it’s a super seller’s market, said Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American. It is an incredibly competitive home buying environment.

If the economy improves as coronavirus vaccines become more widely available, economists predict the housing market will continue to ride a strong wave of demand this year, even though mortgage rates are expected to rise slightly from relative at record lows.

The average 30-year benchmark fixed-rate home loan rate has risen to 2.81% this week from last weeks 2.73%, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. A year ago, the rate was 3.49%.

The 10-year Treasury yield, which can influence interest rates on mortgages, rose sharply this week as Wall Street considers the possibility of higher inflation as the economy is expected to recover foot in the second half of this year.

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NAR’s Yun expects the 30-year average mortgage rate to rise, possibly reaching 3% by the middle of the year.

This would be considered historically favorable, he said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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